First Published: Marxist-Leninist Quarterly, Vol. II, No. 2, no date 
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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This article is related to the overall statement of the Progressive Labor Movement which appeared in the Marxist-Leninist Quarterly, Vol. II, No. 1 under the title U.S. Workers Require Revolutionary Theory. Its purpose is to enlarge on one aspect of that statement, namely, the main lines of U.S. imperialist strategy in its drive for world domination. As such it concerns itself primarily with that strategy and only indicates aspects of the struggle within the socialist world and the multifaceted counter struggle of the peoples of the world. These have been and will continue to be reported and analyzed in future issues of the Marxist-Leninist Quarterly.
In this, the world’s exemplary “affluent state,” over four million workers–or 5.5 per cent of the labor force–are unemployed. Millions of others are laid off for months at a time. Among those statistically “employed” are some eleven million part-time workers. One out of every ten Negro workers is unemployed and one out of every twenty white workers is without a job. A major Census Bureau study has found that the economic lot of American Negroes, as compared to the white population has failed to improve in 20 years. As a matter .of fact, whereas the average Negro wage earner in 1951 earned 62 per cent of what his white counterpart was earning, in 1962 it had dropped to 55 per cent. The study further showed that much of this earning gap results from discrimination rather than differences in training or ability.
Nor is this a static picture. John I. Snyder, Chairman and President of U.S. Industries, Inc., estimated recently that an increasingly automated U.S. industry takes a toll of 40,000 jobs a week and each year displaces two million mature workers, Negro and white. At the other end of the age spectrum are a conservatively estimated one and a half million teen-agers without jobs or prospects of getting one. The teen-age unemployment rate–which ranges from 15 to 18 per cent–is the highest on record. Among Negro teen-agers one out of every three is unemployed and among white youths the ratio is one out of six. Each year their number in the labor force grows by some 250,000. They live on the “human slag heap” without hope in the present, despairing of the future–abandoned like so much industrial waste!
Insecurity throws its long shadow over millions of Americans, employed and unemployed alike, Negro and white, taking its toll in massive and widespread physical, emotional and moral damage and frustration. The streets of this “sweet land of liberty” ring with the not-to-be-denied demand of 20 million Negro Americans for “Freedom,” “Full Equality” and “Jobs”– NOW! In this year when profits broke all records (over 10.7 billion dollars after taxes) and the Gross National Product soared to $608 billion, it is readily conceded that some 40 million Americans live in grinding poverty–which is fast becoming an “inherited characteristic.”
Neither penny-ante presidential election year “assaults on poverty,” or tax cuts accruing, according to economist and one-time Truman economic adviser Leo Keyserling, “mainly to the high income tax payer,” or exploded theories that high rates of economic growth (even if you can get them!) do away with poverty have stemmed the growth within our borders of a “separate nation” of the poor, the disinherited, the disfranchised and discriminated against, the unskilled deprived of education, and the jobless.
In a rare moment of truth the U.S. News and World Report admitted that “No official now in office, however, appears to have any firm idea about how, short of war (emphasis–Editors, MLQ), jobs can be created on a scale large enough to soak up the unemployment and provide opportunities for young people...who enter the labor force.”
There in all its nakedness is the rarely encountered confession that today’s state monopoly capitalist economy of the United States, with its built-in drive for maximum profits has, despite all talk of “people’s capitalism,” “basic changes,” “new deals,” and “new frontiers,” nothing to offer the growing majority but the age-old alternatives of capitalism: the miseries of unemployment or the disasters of war! The short-lived “American Century” with its dream of world empire is fast approaching that final stage of decay where a constantly expanding ocean of permanently unemployed will have to be maintained “on the dole” by a constantly shrinking work force “elite” taxed to the breaking point to sustain the profit-producing militarized economy and the foreign adventures of an increasingly desperate U.S. imperialism.
For the growing number of the near or totally dispossessed it is a “beggar’s choice” between the chronic uncertainty, frustration, humiliation and want of daily life which Mark Twain once called “slow death by fire” as compared to the “swift death by lightning” war has now raised to its quintessence with the advent of thermo-nuclear weapons. For that “happy few,” the small handful of monopolists, the corporate interests which dominate U.S. political and economic life, both unemployment and war are sources of the one “good” they pursue with single-minded dedication: maximum profits!
Peace, freedom with full equality and jobs are what every ordinary American, black and white, wants and needs. And they are exactly what capitalism cannot provide. On March 23, the New York Times reported the recommendations of a 32-member Ad Hoc Committee on the Triple Revolution: “Every American should be guaranteed an adequate income as a matter of right whether he works or not.” Nothing less than full blown communism (to each according to his needs) for the asking! No struggles, no revolution–no recognition of class interests or even the existence of classes–just “committees,” and “recommendations for coping with problems of a transition!” However well-intentioned the Committee or some of its individual members, it is the sheerest deception to foster the illusion that capitalism can or will provide guaranteed security of any kind even if such a nonsensical “world without work” were a real, possible or even desirable goal! Nothing that has happened in the real world, as distinct from the world of fancy, has negated Lenin’s more than ever pertinent and penetrating class analysis:
...from this capitalist democracy–inevitably narrow, subtly rejecting the poor, and therefore hypocritical to the core–progress does not march onward, simply, smoothly and directly to ’greater and greater democracy,’ as the liberal professors and petty-bourgeois opportunists would have us believe. No, progress marches onward, i.e. toward Communism, through the dictatorship of the proletariat; it cannot do otherwise, for there is no one else and no other way to break the resistance of the capitalist exploiters.
War or peace, oppression or freedom, unemployment or jobs, the great questions agitating our times and our peoples are not separate from but interdependent with, and deeply rooted in, the major contradictions of our contemporary world. There is an inner link between the reactionary policies which at home deny the most elementary rights to Negro Americans and genuine democracy and security to all Americans, and U.S. policies of aggression abroad. These contradictions cannot be wished away by “sweet talk,” demogogic speeches or promises. What is needed is a profound understanding of the objective laws of an economic system which can only survive by exploitation, national chauvinism, aggression and violence.
The fight against internal and external aggression is one fight.
Since the inception of capitalism and long after it had exhausted any and all of its initial progressive features, each succeeding period has produced its spate of apologists, confusionists and mystifiers of the real nature of this brutal system of exploitation of one class by another, one nation by another, one people by another. Such apologists may be outright spokesmen for the ruling circles. They are the more easily detected and evaluated. Others emerge within the working class movement itself. Today, as in the past, their apologetics are decked out in the “new garb” of their time. But stripped of their contemporary verbiage they invariably exhibit a startling sameness–a true poverty of anything genuinely “creative” which is their unfailing claim. Seizing at random on certain superficial and transitory phenomenon, they draw subjective and groundless conclusions which disregard the fundamental causal laws shaping social relations. Discarding the method of class analysis they substitute the bourgeois “humanist” or “super class” approach. Developing a host of conjectures, hopes and “theories” which are purely subjective and not borne out by a single fact of national or international political or economic life, they abandon the scientific method of investigation of society as it really is for one which bases itself on things as they think they “should,” “must” or would “like” them to be. They resemble nothing so much as the weary heroine of the popular My Fair Lady trying desperately to escape the struggle and hard reality of the world that is, for the fantasy-life of “Wouldn’t It Be Loveerly If...”
...If the actions of the imperialists were dictated not by the needs of their economic system and class interests but by “reason” and “intelligence...”
...If, while imperialism exists, there could be universal and complete disarmament in a world “without weapons, without armies, without wars...”
...If the “existence and contraposition of two great military blocs” (i.e., the socialist and imperialist camps–Ed., MLQ) could be eliminated, replacing the antagonistic class contradictions by political, economic and ideological coexistence, cooperation, etc., etc....
...If state monopoly capital would gradually pass into socialism, and the working people (in cooperation with the “reasonable” monopolists themselves) would fall heir to the direction of the State–proving that there does “in fact, exist in the capitalist world today an urge toward structural reforms and towards reforms of a socialist nature.”
Yes, “wouldn’t it be lov-er-ly!” But it all rests on that “one little word” if which Lenin once characterized as trying to “reconcile two hostile classes and two hostile political lines by means of a little word which ’unites’ the most divergent things.”
The Progressive Labor Movement, dedicated to the principles of Marxism-Leninism, rejects such apologias for imperialism from wherever they may stem–from Gus Hall’s substitution of Lenin’s characterization of imperialism as parasitic, decaying, moribund capitalism with “reaction all along the line”[14 with his own self-proclaimed “Age of Reason,” through Togliatti’s “structural reforms,” Tito’s “gradual and peaceful integration” of state capitalism into socialism and Khruschev’s distortion of the Leninist concept of peaceful coexistence as an aspect of policy to the general principle governing all policies; the hub of contemporary international life, the path to socialism on a world scale, the strategic line in the entire period of transition from capitalism to socialism on a global scale, and the supreme “general task” that over-rides all other revolutionary goals of the peoples!
While there have been many changes in the world, all of which must be taken into account by Marxist-Leninists, nothing has happened (in real life as opposed to demagogic speeches) which negates the validity of Lenin’s castigation of earlier revisionists or its perfect applicability to our own variety:
The question as to whether it is possible to reform the basis of imperialism, whether to go forward to go forward to the aggravation of the antagonism which it engenders, or backwards, towards allaying these antagonisms, is a fundamental question in the critique of imperialism. As a consequence of the fact that the political features of imperialism are reaction all along the line, and increased national oppression...a democratic petty bourgeois opposition has been rising against imperialism in almost all imperialist countries since the beginning of the twentieth century. And the desertion of Kautsky and the broad international Kautskyian trend from Marxism is displayed in the very fact that Kautsky not only did not trouble to oppose, not only was not able to oppose this petty bourgeois reformist opposition, which is really reactionary in its economic basis, but in practice actually became merged with it.
In our own country, one-time Marxists now unwilling and unable to oppose our contemporary brand of petty-bourgeois reformist opposition to imperialism are, in practice, “actually merging with it.” They have become “radical liberals!” The effect of their policies and propaganda is to corrupt the minds of the exploited with the mentality of the exploiters, to anaesthetize the working people of the United States to the sharp attacks on their living and working conditions and prevent their resistance to the overall strategy of U. S. imperialism. For who can doubt that with inter-imperialist rivalries growing daily in sharpness and with its world competitive position seriously weakened, with the growing strength of the socialist world and the rising momentum of the fight of the oppressed peoples and nations for political and economic freedom, U.S. monopoly interests are and will increasingly try to write off their international losses on the backs of their own people.
For our part we adhere to the view that the beginning of all wisdom in appraising the current international situation, in determining how to oppose war and fight for peace, how to regard the socialist camp and countries, the newly independent countries, the oppressed peoples and nations, the working peoples and countries of the industrialized West, is the concrete class analysis of world politics and economics as a whole– of actual world conditions, of the fundamental contradictions at work in the world in which we live.
By whatever name they call them the fundamental contradictions of our contemporary world–the contradiction between the socialist countries and the imperialist bloc, between the “underdeveloped” peoples and nations and imperialism, between imperialist countries, and between monopoly capitalist groups within and among those countries, and between the working class and the bourgeoisie in the capitalist countries–are well known to U.S. policy planners. U.S. imperialist “grand strategy” is, in fact, designed to deal with just these contradictions. It is a strategy that embraces the basic military and foreign policies of the United States toward the socialist world, the national liberation movements of Asia. Africa and Latin America and the conflicts within the imperialist camp.
In the Aesopian language of Washington’s policy-makers their overall objective is to “build a peaceful world community of free and independent states.” This “community” would include not only the industrialized capitalist countries of Europe’s “free world” and the vast expanse of “underdeveloped areas” in Asia, Africa and Latin America but eventually the socialist countries themselves. According to the late President Kennedy and W.W. Rostow, Chairman of the Planning Commission of the State Department, the United States is charged (by whom is left unsaid!) with the “responsibility” for building and “enlarging” this “community” based on the record, a free but accurate translation of this “community of free and independent states” would be “a ruthless drive to subject the world to U.S. leadership and domination.”
If this statement sounds too all-embracing and “way out” to some, we recommend two recent “authoritative” declarations. On June 4 President Johnson speaking before the Coast Guard Academy on the nation’s “mission” said:
For today, we Americans share responsibility not only for our own security, but for the security of all free nations; not only for our own society, but for an entire civilization; not only for our own liberties, but for the hopes of all humanity.
In an editorial of June 15, 1964 entitled “Policeman to the World” The New York Times put the same thing more bluntly:
The United States is coming to act more and more like nature; it abhors a vacuum. When the British had to pull out of Greece in 1947, the United States moved in, and bolstered Turkey to boot. When .the Communists conquered the mainland of China in 1949, it was the United States fleet and American arms that held Taiwan and saved the remnant of Nationalist China. When the French were driven out of Indo-China in 1954, the United States filled the vacuum.
And when the United Nations and NATO seemed unable to handle Cyprus, it was the United States again, in the past week, which moved in to fill the gap.
Expressed in political shorthand this “global strategy” can be summed up as a grab to dominate those countries, advanced and “underdeveloped” alike, lying between the United States and the socialist camp; put down the revolutions of the peoples and nations fighting for freedom and independence; make the Soviet Union a collaborator in her own isolation and then proceed one by one to undermine and destroy the socialist countries and thus to dominate the world.
This vision of the “American Century” has, in fact, inspired every Administration, Republican and Democratic alike, since the end of World War II. The “talk peace–make war” game so cleverly exploited by Kennedy and now pursued by Johnson is only the latest and at once the most aggressive and insidiously demogogic set of strategic policies devised toward this end.
On international questions confronting Washington there are differences of approach, though not of goals, within U.S. ruling circles. These differences exist within both major parties. Consequently we are periodically treated to “agonizing reappraisals” of U.S. foreign policy. The distinguishing feature of all these “re-appraisals” is that when the “agony” is over one thing remains constant–the more the externals of U.S. foreign policy may change the more its reactionary imperialist essence remains the same.
We are, it seems, once more in the throes of such an “agonizing reappraisal.” This latest “great debate” was triggered by a carefully calculated Administration “preventive attack” in the face of widespread foreign policy reverses in an election year. It took the form of major declarations by President Johnson, U. N. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson, Senate Democratic leader Hubert Humphrey, Secretary of State Dean Rusk and culminated in Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Fulbright’s full-dress speech to the Senate on March 25 entitled Old Myths and New Realities.
The theme–with variations–of all these statements was “flexibility” and “diversity.” All recognized that the world was not as it had been. It was a dynamic, revolutionary world they now faced and the United States was not in a position to “capture” that revolution, for its own ends from fixed positions rooted in the past. In all, there was a note of lament–that U.S. foreign policy-makers had become the prisoners of their own propaganda! So effectively, it seems, had the American public been “brain-dirted” by Washington’s cold war strategists that now, in the words of the Senator from Arkansas, when “We are confronted with a complex and fluid world situation...we are not adapting ourselves to it. We are clinging to old myths in the face of new realities...”
But all this is not as “new” as it has been made to sound. In fact, there is nothing essentially “new” in this latest “great debate” at all. The root assumptions of Fulbright’s speech have been the root assumptions of the late President’s foreign policy, inherited and continued, in the main, by the Johnson Administration. Senator Fulbright’s much publicized “new truths” and “unthinkable thoughts” are, upon examination, nothing more or less than an extension of the Kennedy “soft-sell” of that same disreputable product–U.S. aggression and world domination–with the wrappings brought up to date. This “great debate” is, as all have been since John Foster Dulles’ first “agonizing reappraisal,” a reflection of disagreement in tactics among rival U.S. monopoly groups in the face of serious set-backs in the international arena. It is also a reflection of the tug and lurch of domestic politics rising to an election year crescendo.
For in spite of Kennedy’s supreme demagogy and political know-how, U.S. foreign policy was fast becoming a shambles. In the short span of the Johnson Administration, the whole creaking edifice began to show signs of collapse. NATO, CENTO, and SEATO, Washington’s globe-circling “alliances” were in various stages of disintegration. The effort to throttle Cuba economically was by Fulbright’s own testimony “a failure.” Panama was acting up and trouble signals flashed from Brazil, Venezuela and Chile. In Southeast Asia, U.S. policy was close to total rout. Disaster loomed in south Vietnam for the U.S. interventionists and their latest here-today-and-gone-tomorrow strongman Khanh. Little Cambodia was courageously trading diplomatic blow for blow, and coming out on top. Massive U.S. military aid to India had alienated Pakistan, which turned from reliance on the U. S. to an independent foreign policy, and Indonesia persisted in her determination to rebuff U.S.-British neo-colonialism on her doorstep under the guise of an “independent” Malaysia. To top it all came President De Gaulle’s neutralization proposal for ending hostilities in South Vietnam followed swiftly by French recognition of the People’s Republic of China.
And then there was Cyprus and Zanzibar and the renewal of the people’s struggle in the Congo along with uprisings in East Africa–which the thin red line of British troops engaged in Germany, Cyprus and Malaya was hard put to contain. Through it all, Chinese Premier Chou En-lai calmly toured Africa and Asia making friends and influencing people.
However, despite these global set-backs, the advocates of “flexibility” and “diversity” were, in the series of Administration speeches, fighting hard for a continuation of the Kennedy-Johnson strategy. The heart of this strategy is to corrupt, disintegrate and destroy the socialist camp from within thereby slowing down and undermining the world-wide revolutionary process. In his Old Myths and New Realities Fulbright quoted approvingly a proposition on which J.F. Kennedy, the Pope, Fulbright, Johnson and all the “flexibility” advocates stand as one: “...in human institutions, too, it is not possible to renovate for the better except by working from within them gradually.”
It cannot be denied that with this collaboration of the Soviet leadership and other erstwhile “Marxists” this policy has registered significant successes.
The most astute and powerful U.S. ruling interests in both the Democratic and Republican parties see this achievement as the all-important breakthrough upon which all else depends. They deplore any return to the neanderthal tactics of such “hard-liners” as Republican presidential-hopeful Barry Goldwater and his supporters. They do not attempt to conceal their imperialist goals behind a peace guise but openly proclaim their willingness to “risk war” and loudly demand a “win strategy.” This gives the show away, thereby solidifying opposition to them at home and abroad.
With foreign policy shaping up as a major election campaign issue, the “hard-liners” have once more become extremely vocal and virulent. In his recent speech Fulbright as much as told these “stand-patters” that they were suffering from hardening of the political arteries–that his goals and theirs were the same. They have, he said, a tendency “to confuse means with ends...”
Similarly, Governor Wm. W. Scranton, hand-picked by powerful Republican interests in an eleventh hour move to “stop Goldwater” declared in his “hat-in-the-ring” speech before the Maryland Republican State Convention that “in the good fight to put America in first place, not only right here but throughout the world” it was not possible “to stand with one foot in the 20th century and the other in the 19th! The strategic goal remains as with Johnson, Rockefeller, Goldwater or Nixon: to put America in first place throughout the world. The fight is on tactics and which U.S. monopoly group grabs the biggest slice.
The two most powerful counter forces confronting Washington’s drive for world domination are the socialist camp and the national liberation movement. The first and foremost obstacle is the socialist camp. Consequently U.S. “grand strategy” is directed fundamentally against it.
To say this is in no way contradictory to recognizing that while the contradiction between the socialist and imperialist camp is fundamental the focus of world contradictions can and does change with changing conditions at different times. All evidence points to the fact that at the present time the focus of world contradictions is on the conflict between the U.S. imperialist policy of dominating all the “intermediate” countries, advanced and “underdeveloped” alike, and the people of these countries, and between the U.S. policy of world-wide expansion and the other imperialist powers. This contradiction manifests itself particularly in Asia, Africa and Latin America where the oppressed peoples fight for freedom and where the old and new colonialists battle to wrest these areas from each other. For the moment these contradictions have greater urgency for Washington than the fundamental one with the socialist countries. This is so because the subjugation of this “intermediate world” is, for them, the precondition for dealing with their main antagonist–the socialist camp!
Force and violence or the threat of force and violence are the life blood of imperialism. Without it it is impossible for imperialism to realize its ambitions or avert its doom. Accordingly, military strategy has top priority in Washington’s global strategy. From Truman to Eisenhower to Kennedy and Johnson Washington has been preoccupied with evolving a military strategy to answer its purpose–world domination. Having proved inadequate, Truman’s policy of “containment” was discarded for the Eisenhower-Dulles “massive (nuclear) retaliation.” When this, too, failed to stem the revolutionary tide or meet the needs of today’s fluid and complex world situation it was superceded by the Kennedy-McNamara “strategy of the flexible response.” In line with this strategy preparations proceed apace for waging three kinds of warfare: overall nuclear warfare directed primarily against socialist camp, “special warfare” or “anti-guerrilla warfare” to suppress the national liberation movements and “limited warfare” intended both to deal with the national liberation movements and provoke the socialist countries. In his January 21 Budget Message to Congress President Johnson declared “We have chosen not to concede our opponents supremacy in any type of potential conflict, be it nuclear war, conventional warfare, or guerrilla conflict.”
Despite all the rhetoric on disarmament, despite the talk of switching to a “peacetime economy,” despite the partial nuclear test ban and the siren songs of “peace”–the arms drive and war preparations move ahead at accelerated speed and are of countless scope. The well-publicized “cut-bakes” in military spending in no way qualitatively change the massive “overkill” capacity of U.S. nuclear and conventional armament. They are, in part, a reflection of the relatively greater emphasis in overkill U.S. military strategy on the conventional and tactical nuclear weapons required for special anti-guerrilla warfare as against the more than adequately stocked nuclear missiles. On April 20 a Pentagon spokesman noted that “the strategic network of land-based and sea-based missiles is virtually completed.”
The announced “cut-backs” also reflect Ford Motors-trained Sec. of Defense McNamara’s talent for stream-lined efficiency coupled with considerations of inter-Service and inter-Pentagon (military vs. civilian staff) rivalries determined in large measure by conflicts between monopoly groups vying for huge profit-making military contracts. Moreover, an election-conscious President intent on being all things to all voters finds it useful in creating the appearance of “economy” while at the same time that it allows for some high-powered “peace” and “disarmament” demagogy.
Inspired talk of “extensive” and “continuing” cuts in arms expenditures should be measured against the remarks of a Defense Department spokesman as reported by Jack Raymond in The New York Times of April 20. “Annual defense spending of more than $50 billion will not go down appreciably in the next five years, according to authoritative estimates at the Pentagon...Contrary to some expectations...the spending plans do not envisage a drastic reduction...’A sudden dramatic disarmament agreement with the Soviet Union could alter the prospect,’ said the official, but hastened to add ’no such agreement is expected.’”
Any examination of the effects of the partial nuclear test ban and limitation of fissile production agreements already concluded between the United States and the Soviet Union makes clear that neither has substantially changed the present or potential military posture of the United States.
According to the test ban agreement itself, testing could be resumed by the simple act of abrogation of the pact. The Defense Department and the Atomic Energy Commission announced on April 12 that they are devising plans to make possible the resumption of atmospheric testing within two to six months following abrogation by either side.
In January the Atomic Energy Commission announced that it had “discovered” that the treaty banning all underground explosions was not quite as restrictive as previously alleged. The Commission claimed that new methods had been devised to test a wide range of weapons underground, including warheads for tactical air-defense, anti-missile and anti-submarine use. Moreover, it is now considered feasible to develop weapons with yields in the range of several megatons by subterranean testing.
As for the agreement sometimes called the “fissile fraud” it is conservatively estimated that the United States has ten times more fissile material than it could possibly use and that consequently the agreement neither affects the production of weapons or inhibits research into new production methods.
Contrary to the glowing vistas of “first steps toward disarmament” painted by both Washington and Moscow when the agreements were concluded, neither of them has in any way lessened the arms race or reduced the possibility of nuclear catastrophe. Nor, as the man from the Pentagon said, is any real disarmament agreement in sight! As opposed to real disarmament we are, it seems, about to have another “improvement of the international atmosphere.” That bit of hot air is becoming so “pure” its getting hard to breathe! According to the New York Times of June 19 ”the two year impasse over what to talk about has finally been broken.” The Soviet Union, true to recent form, is showing signs of interest in June in the hoary U.S. “bomber bonfire” proposal which it ridiculed last March when it asserted that the United States was merely seeking to make room in its arsenal for more modern weapons.” To complete the familiar formula The Times winds up with the standard warning, “The prospects of a dramatic breakthrough remain slim, but every inch of progress is important in this era of nuclear devastation.” Make a big noise about accomplishing exactly nothing to further immobilize the peace forces, then add a warning lest the war forces also relax!
The real state of U.S. arms expansion and war preparation was neatly summed up in a Defense Department statement of April 14 in response to Sen. Barry Goldwater’s election year charge of “missile unreliability.” Said the Pentagon:
Questions have been raised...regarding the magnitude of our superiority and whether it is continuing to grow. The fact is that it has been increasing and we intend that it shall continue to increase.
The Pentagon credited this increase in military superiority to the addition of $17 billion to the Defense Budget in the last three years. And provided concrete evidence of what it got for its money:
The number of nuclear warheads in the strategic alert forces have been increased 100 per cent.
The number of tactical nuclear warheads in Western Europe has been increased 60 per cent.
The number of combat ready divisions has been increased 45 per cent. The number of tactical airwings has been increased 35 per cent. U.S. airlift capability has been increased 75 per cent. Ship construction has been increased 100 per cent.
And if the point needed further underlining President Johnson told an Associated Press luncheon on April 20 that “...in the last three years your Government has strengthened the whole range of America’s defenses. We have increased defense spending in three years by approximately $6 billion a year over the last year of the Eisenhower Administration and this year we are spending approximately $8 billion more on defense that we were during that last year.” He summed it all up on June 3 in an address to the Coast Guard Academy:
...American today is stronger than it has ever been before. It is stronger than any adversary or combination of adversaries. It is stronger than the combined might of all the nations in the history of the world, and I confidently predict that strength will continue to grow more rapidly than the might of all others.
That the U.S. Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff has ready-to-go plans for nuclear war against the Soviet Union and other socialist countries was made explicit by Sec. of Defense McNamara:
We have provided a capability to destroy virtually all of the ’soft (above ground) and semi-hard’ (partially protected) military targets in the Soviet Union and a large number of their fully hardened missile sites, with an additional capability in the form of a protected force to be employed or held in reserve for use against urban and industrial areas.
Spokesmen for the military have frequently boasted of the network of nuclear missile bases directed against the socialist camp throughout Europe and Asia and of the greatly strengthened disposition of U.S. Polaris-equipped nuclear submarines abroad. On the occasion of NATO’s 15th anniversary (April 3) Johnson declared that the “number of NATO’s ready divisions, including six from the United States, has multiplied by five, the number of modern aircraft has multiplied by ten, all more effective by far than any were in 1949.” And on April 8 Dean Rusk, appearing before an Overseas Press Club audience, stressed the U.S. irreversible commitment to a multi-national nuclear missile fleet and stated that more medium range ballistic missiles were needed to cover Soviet launching sites.
While Washington strategists exude confidence in their “nuclear superiority” they do recognize that they have long since lost their absolute superiority in nuclear weapons and will themselves court disaster in any attempt to destroy others in an all-out nuclear war. They have, therefore, greatly expanded their capacity for “limited” wars against the socialist and newly independent countries along the periphery of the socialist camp. They are presently trying to inflame the whole Indo-Chinese peninsula in an effort to salvage their south Vietnam fiasco.
To deal with peoples’ movements in Asia, Africa and Latin America all U.S. land, sea and air services have developed “special forces.” They have turned South Vietnam into a proving ground for such “special warfare” replete with toxic chemicals, “strategic hamlets” and 16,000 U.S. “military advisers.” On June 3, Johnson boasted that “Since January, 1961, we have increased these specialized forces eight times. We trained more than 100,000 officers in these techniques. We have given special emphasis to this form of warfare in the training of all military units.”
On March 25 The Wall Street Journal discussed a Pentagon project known as “Agile.” “This effort,” said the paper, “has been conducted without fanfare for three years, by scientists and military specialists in the Defense Departments’ Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA)... Much of the testing naturally takes place in the ready-made laboratory of South Vietnam combat, but a test station has been functioning for sometime in Thailand, and plans call for setting up others in mountainous and artic environments. The U. S. is negotiating with a South American government for permission to establish such an installation in its mountains.”
Controlling a combined land and air force with high combat readiness the “U.S. Strike Command” prepared, as its name implies, to move at short notice for purposes of aggression over the face of the earth. U. S. military command center have, moreover, been set up both above and below ground with an Emergency Airborne Command Post operating from craft in flight and an Emergency Sea Command directing operations from warships afloat.
One million troops, or two-fifths of all active U.S. armed forces are stationed in more than 70 countries and areas outside the United States. So much for “general and complete disarmament! It would be the sheerest illusion to think that this howling militarism is the invention and special preserve of the “mad men” in the Pentagon. While “Dr. Strangelove” may, indeed, live there, there should be no misunderstanding about the fact that he takes his orders from the same top Administration officials and strategists who are simultaneously speaking honeyed words of “peace” and “sweet reasonableness” over the “hot line” to Moscow.
For the two-pronged U. S. strategy to break up and destroy the socialist camp consists of working two sides of the street. On the one hand there is the piling up of armaments and preparations for war (of all kinds) in order to achieve the desired goals by force if necessary. On the other is the use of this accumulated strength in a kind of “carrot and nuclear blackmail” operation geared to simultaneously intimidate and seduce the socialist countries thereby creating the conditions for socialism’s “peaceful capitulation.”
Cultivation of the peace offensive is one of the cornerstones of U.S. global strategy. In “talking peace” while “making war” Washington’s purpose is to transform its world image from the accurate one of “war-maker” to the false, misleading one of “peace-maker.” It is of inestimable value to U.S. strategists to cultivate the illusion that at the very center of U.S. state-monopoly power, in the ruling Administration itself, there are those whose hearts bleed for peace. This illusion is meant, and with the help of the Soviet leadership and those who follow its revisionist line, including the Communist Party of the United States, has to a large degree succeeded in taking the steam out of the pressure of the world peace movement. Its effect is to create confusion about who is responsible for war. It allows “war-makers” to masquerade as “peace-lovers” and actually includes them in the peace camp. This illusion feeds on such statements as that made by Soviet Premier Khruschev on April 20. In a week which had witnessed a U.S.-instigated right wing military coup in Laos which can only have the effect of reactivating the civil war in that country, in a week which saw a U.S. pledge to enlarge military and economic aid to stoke the war in South Vietnam, in a week that heard Johnson’s threat of serious consequences if Cuba exercised her sovereign right to stop U.S. reconnaissance flights over her territory, the Soviet Premier directly referred to the U. S. war-makers in the following manner:
A certain relaxation of international tension has been achieved of late as a result of active, persistent efforts by all peace-loving states and peoples.
In one of the most shameful exhibitions of “peaceful coexistence” and “all-round cooperation” on record Khruschev is reported to have suggested that the United States conduct its illegal inspections of Cuban territory by means of its satellite spy system rather than reconnaissance flights thereby avoiding a new crisis.
Eloquent, if inadvertant testimony to the utter bankruptcy of Khruschev and the present Soviet leadership in whitewashing the main U.S. war-makers and disarming the whole peace movement was given by U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Foy D. Kohler. Appearing before the Senate Committee on Government Operations on April 8 he reported that in the Soviet Union
The role of the principal warmonger has now been assigned to Peking, so that you get much less of this about the United States. You do get a lot of articles, usually exempting the President and the political leadership, but saying the generals in the Pentagon are plotting war behind the backs even of the President. But even this has gone down.
Washington’s strategy or the “peace offensive” is also intended to secure a free hand in putting down the national liberation movements by preventing the socialist countries from supporting them. Here the “carrot and nuclear blackmail” combination is brought into full play. First the threat that every national liberation “spark” if not smothered will escalate into a nuclear fire involving a U.S.-socialist confrontation and simultaneous behind-the-scenes’ intimations that with the proper ”cooperation all sorts of “arrangements” and “accommodations” including trade, credits etc. will be forthcoming.
The Kennedy-Johnson “grand strategy” places great emphasis on subversion and infiltration of the socialist camp. The purpose is to promote such “constructive changes within the Communist bloc” as will make it possible to draw the “communist nations” into the “community of the free world.” Emboldened by their success in Yugoslavia they who have always hated everything communist have, of late, discovered the extraordinary “virtues” of “national communism” and “diversity within the socialist camp.” The most astute and dangerous representatives of U.S. monopoly power and ideology–the Kennedys, Johnsons, McNamara’s and Rusks (both Rockefeller interest proteges) the Harrimans, Fulbrights and Lippmans can hardly contain their elation while at the same time couseling “caution” and “flexibility” in taking advantage of the new opportunities. On July 22, 1963, on the occasion of the partial test ban treaty, which Washington had tried unsuccessfully to put across ever since the Eisenhower Administration, Walter Lippman wrote with the complacent satisfaction of a vindicated oracle:
There is a view of the Communist problem which I have long shared. It is that nationalism is a stronger sentiment than Communism and that, therefore, the right way to deal with the Soviet Union is to treat it as a great power in which the national interests of the Russians will prevail over their Marxist-Leninist ideology. The course of events is, I believe, proving this view to be correct.
The two faces of U.S. policy were never more sharply etched than in two carefully calculated Administration speeches which the general press respectfully refers to as “historic.” They are the Kennedy American University “Strategy of Peace” speech of June 10, 1963 and Senator Fulbright’s March 25, 1964 “Old Myths and New Realities.”
While the Soviet leadership refuses to make the statements of the Chinese Communist Party on a series of fundamental questions concerning Marxism-Leninism available to the Soviet people this is by no means true of the demagogic speeches of imperialism’s leading spokesmen. In the previously mentioned remarks of Foy D. Kohler to the Senate Committee the Ambassador stated that there was developing in the Soviet Union a tendency “to publish more top American statements and speeches.” President Kennedy’s “Strategy of Peace” speech at the American University was, he said, “published in full.”
In the context of Washington’s global strategy these speeches deserve special attention. Both are predicated on the same root assumptions concerning U.S. foreign policy and both are expositions of the ground rules for breaking up and destroying the socialist camp “peacefully.” They are, moreover, both primarily concerned with the ability of U.S. imperialism to exploit the ail-important breakthrough in promoting “evolutionary changes” within the socialist world.
“We must reexamine our attitudes” said the late President in his American University address, “toward peace itself,” “toward the Soviet Union” a [text missing here in the original – EROL] nunciation of astronomical U.S. war budgets or the manufactures and stock-piling of thermo-nuclear weapons. It says not a word concerning U.S. Polaris-equipped submarines prowling the seven seas or the U.S. missile bases circling the globe. It contains no commitment to abandon plans for making West Germany a nuclear partner through the U.S.-devised multi-national nuclear naval force. There appears not a note of remorse for overthrowing freely elected governments, instigating right wing military coups, for economic boycotts intended to starve whole peoples into submission or for savage warfare in Vietnam etc. etc....
On the contrary. U.S. basic policy need not be changed by one jot or title. It is and always has been, said the President, a policy of peace. “The pursuit of disarmament has been an effort of the (U.S.) Government since the 1920’s.” “Moreover,” he added, “We are unwilling to impose our system on any unwilling peoples.” As for U.S. armaments they were extolled by Kennedy with all the synthetic fervor of a Madison Avenue commercial:
American weapons are non-provacative, carefully controlled, designed to deter and capable of selective use. Our military forces are committed to peace and disciplined in self-restraint.
Was, then, the call for a reexamination of U.S. attitudes a complete fraud? Not at all. Kennedy urged in all sincerity that the thinking of too many Americans was “defeatist” and not keeping pace with the new opportunities:
We must persevere in the search for peace in the hope that constructive changes within the Communist bloc must bring within reach solutions which now seem beyond us.
No change is required from U.S. imperialism except not to be “defeatist” about changing the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries. “It only requires,” said Kennedy, that “the leaders of the Soviet Union adopt a more enlightened attitude.” “And,” he concluded in a burst of confidence that appears to have been well-founded, “I believe we can help them to do it.”
And what should be this more enlightened attitude of the Soviet leaders? They should not, said the President, make statements which are “sad to read.” They should not be taken in by their own propaganda and believe all that nonsense about “American imperialist circles preparing to unleash different types of war...that there is a real threat of preventive war...and that the political aims of the American imperialists are to enslave economically and politically the European and other capitalist countries...(and) achieve world domination by means of aggressive war.” They should, he said, accentuate the positive, emphasize the “common traits,” “common interests,” “common links” between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.
In a word, while U.S. imperialism changes by not one iota its basic policy of arms accumulation, war preparations, intervention and threats of intervention, neo-colonialist penetration and CIA subversion the Soviet Union should refrain from exposing this aggression, renounce militant opposition to U.S. imperialism and substitute a trusting conciliatory attitude of “increased understanding” toward it.
Barely a year later Senator Fulbright in his “Old Myths and New Realities” made a progress report:
It seems reasonable to suggest that the character of the cold war, has, for the present at least, been profoundly altered, by the drawing back of the Soviet Union from extremely aggressive policies; by the implicit repudiation of both sides of a ’total victory’; and by the establishment of American strategic superiority which the Soviet Union appears to have tacitly accepted because it has been accompanied by assurances that it will be exercised by the United States with responsibility and restraint. These enormously important changes may come to be regarded by historians as the foremost achievement by the Kennedy Administration in the field of foreign policy. (emphasis–ed.)
Walter Lippman also paid tribute to Kennedy’s “historic” feat.
He achieved one thing brilliantly, which is changing the course of events, and that has been to convince the Soviet Union that it must perforce, and that it can comfortably and honorably, live within a balance of power which is decided in our favor. For that John F. Kennedy will long be remembered.
Kennedy’s American University speech did not stop with the confident hope of “constructive changes within the Communist bloc.”
It is our hope–and the purpose of allied policies–to convince the Soviet Union that she, too, should let each nation chose its own future, so long as the choice does not interfere with the choice of others. The Communist drive to impose their political and economic system on others is the primary cause of world tension today.
Since in the lexicon of Washington’s strategists every indigenous revolutionary movement for genuine political and economic independence has always been a manifestation of the socialist countries’ “drive to impose their political and economic system”–this call by Kennedy constituted nothing less than a demand that the socialist countries cease supporting the liberation movements of the oppressed peoples. And just to make sure that everything was crystal clear there followed this typical bit of nuclear blackmail:
...while defending our own vital interests, nuclear powers must alert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war.
Note the sequence. First the omnipresent, aggressive, absolute right of U.S. imperialism to defend what it conceives to be its “own vital interests” (in Taiwan, South Vietnam, Laos etc. etc.) followed by the barely concealed threat that if anyone else supports or defends the “vital interests” of the oppressed peoples they thereby risk nuclear retaliation.
A careful reading of the Fulbright speech will show that this passion for “evolutionary changes” within the socialist countries by “working from within them gradually” is by no means confined to the Soviet Union and the Eastern Democracies where Fulbright rightly estimates considerable progress has been made.
To the extent that the Soviet leaders abandon the global ambitions of Marxist ideology, in fact if not in words, it becomes possible for us to engage in normal relations with them.
He advocates the same approach to China and Cuba but with less confidence. For the former he is reduced to relying on the accession to power of “a new generation of leaders.” In the meantime, says the practical politician from Arkansas, recognition of “diversity” is the thing!
Only if we recognize these variations ranging from China, which poses the immediate threat to the free world, to Poland and Yugoslavia, which pose none, can we hope to act effectively upon the bloc and to turn its internal differences to our advantage and to the advantage of those bloc countries which wish to maximize their independence.
In other words while probing for and taking advantage of every opportunity to infiltrate and subvert China, as has been done in the Soviet Union and the Eastern Democracies, it is recognized that the Marxist ideology and practice of that socialist country, as opposed to Khruschev’s capitulationism and the spurious “relaxation” it has brought about in U.S.-U.S.S.R. relations, is a genuinely revolutionary ideology which inspires, informs, rallies and supports the revolutionary forces throughout the world. As such it has become the main target of an increasingly shrill and vituperative “hate campaign” by U.S. imperialism. The purpose of this “hate China” propaganda is, of course, to provide a cover for the perpetuation of Washington’s forcible occupation of China’s territory of Taiwan and, above all to serve as a screen behind which to carry on its own intensified aggression in Asia with the “contain China” policy as its core.
Just as Kennedy’s American University speech of June 13, 1963 was carefully timed to give Khrushchev something to “show” for his “cooperation” at the meeting of the Soviet Central Committee on June 18th and the Sino-Soviet talks of July 5, 1963, so Fulbright’s speech with its glittering facade of “sweetness and light” was a showpiece timed, among other things, for a period of acute conflict between the revisionist and revolutionary line within the world Marxist movement. According to the New York Times, Khrushchev “described as very ’reasonable’ the speech made by President Kennedy at American University as well as the recent speeches by President Johnson, Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Senator J. W. Fulbright.”
There is no doubt that Mr. K “gets the message”–and digs it!
And there we have it–rhetoric vs. reality. The rhetoric seemingly classless, timeless and universal promises all things to all men. The reality–the cunningly conceived strategy of the U.S. ruling class to “peacefully” bring about a world without proletarian revolution, a world without revolutionary liberation struggles of oppressed peoples and nations, and finally a world in which the “gradual evolution in human institutions” within the socialist countries would erode and undermine the socialist camp itself.
Khrushchev’s distortion of the Leninist concept of “peaceful coexistence” to one of “all-round U.S.-U.S.S.R. cooperation” has led straight to the inestimable folly of the Soviet leadership “cooperating” in the isolation of the Soviet Union itself. The sluice gates are open and Washington is pouring its manifold resources into the breach in hot pursuit of its policy of severing the Eastern Democracies from the socialist camp country by country. They are to be “peacefully” added to that “free community of nations” within what Walter Lippman calls “The great theme of European politics today...the overcoming of the division of Germany and Europe.”
“We will,” said President Johnson in his Virginia Military address of May 23, “continue to build bridges across the gulf which has divided us from Eastern Europe. They will be bridges of increased trade, of ideas, of visitors and of humanitarian aid.” The New York Times of May 24 did a little interpreting:
The President seemed to be saying to the Eastern European countries that the United States would not leave them in isolation if a stronger and more independent national policy jarred existing relationships.
He seemed to be saying also that if such a course led to closer ties with the West, it would work to the advantage of East European cultures and economies.”
A staff correspondent of the Herald Tribune did some “opining” of his own:
Although Administration officials frown when it is stated publicly, the impossible fact is that, should Eastern Europe unite with the West, the Soviet Union would be drawn irresistibly back into the West, further away from China, and that is how the West would have won.
While Washington steps up its pressure against Cuba and the socialist countries of the East–China, North Vietnam and North Korea–they stand firm against the imperialist onslaught, rejecting both adventurism and capitulationism, consistently and skillfully taking full advantage of inter-imperialist contradictions, relying, in the first place, on their own peoples for socialist construction and linking themselves through bonds of ideology and material support with all the anti-imperialist forces of the world. There are no breaches in this sector of the socialist camp.
By skillfully exploiting Khrushchev’s revisionist concept of a “world without war” while imperialism continues to exist and ignite on every side what Adlai Stevenson fatuously calls “violence without war,” Washington’s grand strategists have as their goal–a world without socialism! This is the essence of Washington’s “peace offensive.” It is aimed at splitting and subverting the socialist camp, disintegrating the natural unity and interdependence of the socialist countries, the national liberation movements and the struggles of the working people of the advanced industrialized nations for progress and socialism.
It is a strategy of defeating them one by one in order to establish a global U.S. “strategic hamlet” euphemistically called the “community of free and independent states.” It is the very model of a “Pax Americana” and has nothing in common with the Peace, Freedom and Socialism for which the world’s people yearn and fight.
U.S. “grand strategy” takes full account of the second major contradiction of our contemporary world–the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed nations and peoples. It has made the suppression of genuine liberation movements in Asia, Africa and Latin America and the preservation and consolidation of U.S. neo-colonialist domination and bases of aggression in these areas its central task and its main point of focus.
Washington’s hard-headed realists are keenly alert to the fact that the fate of imperialism hinges on the success or failure of the national liberation struggles. Thus they regard the “recurrent turbulence” in these areas as their major crisis today and have repeatedly pointed out that “a great deal of skill, courage and insight will be required to handle them in ways which do not damage–but–if possible, promote–the interests of the free world.”
Their concern is understandable. For two-thirds of the capitalist world live in these areas which are wracked by every conceivable type of contradiction. These are the most vulnerable areas under imperialist domination and are the storm centers of revolution today. If it is possible to realistically speak of a change in the balance of forces in favor of the peace camp it is just because the peoples in Asia, Africa and Latin America have dared and still dare to disturb the status quo between oppressors and oppressed. And far from menacing world peace these victories contribute decisively to preventing world nuclear war. For they are shaking the strategic hinterland of imperialism to its foundations. It is here that imperialism is feeling the direct blows which deprive it of the maximum profits it needs to survive and it is here that it is confronted with the multiplying military and political problems that keep it off-balance and seriously curtail its ability to launch nuclear war.
The rich resources of these areas and their cheap labor are a source of huge imperialist profits; they are also important factors in the maintenance of the vast imperialist war machines and their ability to wage war. The greatest part of U. S. strategic materials derive from these areas and a large number of overseas military bases are maintained there. These areas are, the vast arena in which the imperialist powers scramble for markets, sources of raw materials and capital investments.
Should these “undeveloped nations” succeed in obtaining thoroughgoing political and economic independence U.S. imperialism would more rapidly come face to face with its own internal contradictions, be reduced to desperate straits and lose all hope of survival. If, on the other hand, it is able to suppress, capture or subvert the liberation movements and develop the situation “according to plan” these areas will come under U.S. domination and control in that all-embracing “free community;” it will become possible to “buy time” and prolong the life of imperialism, directly threaten and encircle the socialist countries and create the most favorable conditions for coming to grips with its main antagonist–the socialist nations.
The world-wide liberation movements are real, tangible contributions to the prevention of world nuclear war and far more reliable than forlorn hopes about “enlightened” imperialists suddenly grown “reasonable” and “sober.” To give whole-hearted, all-out support to the national liberation movements is no act of charity on the part of socialist countries and those who are for peace. They are the first and front-line defense against world war.
Washington planners are intent on developing that “skill” and “insight” which they have said are necessary for dealing with the recurrent crises in this part of the world. In their hands demagogy has achieved new dimensions. The Kennedy-Johnson Administration is on record as declaring that ”all are free to choose their own future” with the added qualification “so long as it does not threaten the freedom of others”–it turns out that the revolution of the Chinese people, the form of society chosen by the Cuban people, the legal governments elected by the Congolese, Laotian, Guatemalan, Brazilian peoples, the independence struggles in south Vietnam, south Korea, etc. etc. all interfere with the “freedom” of the U.S. to control their life and destiny. Only Chiang Kai-shek, Nguyen Khanh, Chung Lee Park, Adoula and Castelo Branca (to name but a few) do not “interfere with the choice of others.” These paragons of “freedom” apparently satisfy everyone and all differences are laid to rest!
The fact is that all national liberation movements which are for genuine independence and neutrality and refuse to become pawns in Washington’s global game are and always will be branded by White House strategists as “subversion” and/or “communist expansion” in order to justify their own open acts of intervention and suppression.
There is no doubt that the Kennedy-Johnson Administration whose foreign policy goals differ in no major way from those of a Dulles, Eisenhower, Rockefeller, Nixon or Goldwater and whose acts of intervention have, in many instances, been more brutal, aggressive and violent than their predecessors, have demonstrated greater finesse and cunning in promoting their aims. Within the limits of what imperialists can learn (being on the far side of history) they have undoubtedly drawn certain lessons from experience.
Cuba was particularly enlightening. In an article stemming from an intensive and official interview with Kennedy on questions of U.S. “grand strategy” Stewart Alsop summed up the impact of Cuba on the President and his advisers:
One thought was obvious. This country’s great stock of nuclear weapons had no direct bearing on the Cuban situation at all...As in the case of; Cuba not one of Kennedy’s advisers had ever suggested that the way to deal with the Pathet Lao or the Viet Cong is to begin dropping nuclear weapons in the jungle.
All of these experiences, says Alsop, plus the fact that the U.S. policy of nuclear blackmail had been unable to prevent the peoples of China, Korea, Vietnam and other countries from winning great victories in their fight for freedom brought Kennedy “inexorably to the conclusion that the “West’s near total reliance on the nuclear weapon could be fatal in the end. The West must have other means of exerting its power with limited means for limited ends.” What the West “needed” and what it evolved was a strategy with more flexible means of aggression–the strategy of the flexible response!
This new twist was especially devised by Washington to cope with the people’s revolutionary movements in Asia, Africa and Latin America, to break the nuclear stalemate, and thus advance its plan for world-wide domination and expansion.
However since Washington is the world’s self-appointed “gendarme” even “conventional limited warfare” presents almost insuperable problems. With things “busting out all over” no matter what the size of its conventional forces there just isn’t enough manpower to go around. Said Max Frankel in the New York Times on June 11, “Right behind the boiling bottle of Vietnam and Laos–on the back burners in Washington’s phrase–two fair-sized pots marked the Congo and Cyprus stand stewing. And simmering off on the side is a whole range of serious situations, from Algeria to Zanzibar.” Consequently the “flexible response” strategists are wary of committing too large a proportion of their available conventional forces to any particular “limited war” lest they get caught with their “flexibility” down! Their answer has been “special warfare” a subdivision of “limited war.” In August 1963 McNamara stated that in recent months there had been a “200 per cent increase in guerrilla-type forces.” In the whole span of the Kennedy-Johnson Administration “counter-insurgency forces” have expanded by 600 per cent.
South Vietnam has been singled out as the “laboratory” for special warfare.” Here the U.S. military studies anti-guerrilla tactics, trains anti-guerrilla troops, tests a variety of weapons and experiments with helicopters and other forms of troop transport. Toxic chemicals poisoning crops and people alike, napalm burning, torture of prisoners, incarceration of peasants in “strategic hamlets” are all part of the new techniques. When the time comes the “students” of “special-warfare” will apply the “lessons” they have learned in South Vietnam to other parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America where the people’s “choice” interferes with U.S. imperialism’s “freedom” to exploit!
Because Washington sees in South Vietnam a test of its whole counter-insurgency strategy it places enormous importance on the struggle in that country. According to an editorial of March 4 in the Chinese “Peoples Daily,”
The reverses (of the U.S. in South Vietnam) are extraordinarily serious because the United States has been using South Vietnam as the testing ground for its special warfare. If it fails in the in the test in South Vietnam, it can hardly hope for success in other places. What is more, the use of special warfare to suppress the national liberation movement is considered by the United States to be the backbone of its global strategy. If special warfare fails its global strategy is as good as lost!”
The question as to whether it is possible to reform the basis of imperialism, whether to go forward to the aggravation of the antagonism which it engenders, or backwards, towards allaying these antagonisms, is a fundamental question in the critique of imperialism. As a consequence of the fact that the political features of imperialism are reaction all along the line, and increased national oppression...a democratic petty bourgeois opposition has been rising against imperialism in almost all imperialist countries since the beginning of the twentieth century. And the desertion of Kautsky and the broad international Kautskyian trend from Marxism is displayed in the very fact that Kautsky not only did not trouble to oppose, not only was not able to oppose this petty bourgeois reformist opposition, which is really reactionary in its economic basis, but in practice actually became merged with it.
“Flexibility” in dealing with the national liberation movements is not confined to the military sphere. Under the hammer blows of these movements the old colonial system is falling apart. And the enterprising Yankees are right there to pick up the pieces and put them together again in a bright new U.S. neo-colonial empire. In this way they try to seize the colonies and spheres of influence of other less powerful imperialist powers and establish U.S. domination. This is an area of extremely sharp inter-imperialist conflict.
In its approach to the ”undeveloped countries” and peoples Washington is keenly aware that in today’s world military force alone will no longer do the job. Quick to “join ’em when you can’t beat ’em” Administration spokesmen are not to be outdone in their protestations of anti-colonialism. They are, indeed, (to pardon the expression!) “redder than the rose.” It is under the guise of the “purest”-anti-colonial-ism and while ardently advocating a “new relationship of cooperation” that they perfect the new instruments of economic penetration and control– the “Alliance for Progress,” the “Peace Corps,” “economic aid,” “Food For Peace,” and “joint enterprises” run by U.S. capitalists and big business elements in the undeveloped countries. They also control and manipulate to serve U.S. capital expansion such world-wide financial agencies as the International Bank For Reconstruction and Development.
The Khruschev myth that makes “peaceful coexistence” the all-sufficing principle in international relations applicable to “undeveloped countries” and advanced alike was given short shrift in the Mali publication Essor of March 12, 1964. It is worth quoting at length:
“Food for Peace” is certainly not a form of economic aid, although people make believe that it is...“Peace” is in vogue. “Peace Corps,” “Food for Peace” and so many other things in the name of peace are so plentiful that people are likely to forget that two-thirds of the world are actually the center of aggression and war. Fighting is taking place in Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America...Foreign troops there all come from the developed capitalist world. This same developed capitalist is also sending “Peace Volunteers,” “Food for Peace” etc...
For honest and objective people of the Third World (neutral countries) who have suffered from endless wars and all sorts of threats of war and intervention, it would not be an exaggeration to say that it is the developed capitalist world which has declared war on the undeveloped World.
One of the most recent devices for penetrating the “undeveloped countries” and bringing them into the fold of the “free community” is the establishment, at the suggestion of the Johnson Administration, of an “overseas business corps.” Known as the “Executive Service Corps” it will, according to the N.Y. Times be “assigned to semi-developed countries...The countries will include most of those in South America and the industrial awakening regions of Africa and Asia...The purpose of the Executive Service Corps will be to serve the broad national objective of accelerating the development of other countries along private enterprise lines, which the Administration believes will be the quickest and best for them as well as for the United States.” Chairman of this committee is David Rockefeller, president of the Chase Manhattan Bank. Preparing the way for the “overseas business corps” and its “aid” to “needy lands” comes a panegyric to U.S. private enterprise and its civilizing mission from Chester Bowles, well-known advertizing executive and darling of the liberals, presently U.S. Ambassador to India:
...most American businessmen have learned to work successfully within the framework of social justice which they created, (sic) If our present generation of businessmen are in turn prepared to carry this philosophy abroad, the effects on industrial development in emerging nations could be dramatic. (NYT 4/14/64)
Dramatic, perhaps, but hardly more dramatic than (official U.S. figures on U.S. investments and profits) in the “underdeveloped countries” in the post-war years. Direct, private U.S. investment in Latin America, Asia and Africa rose from $3,290 million dollars in 1936 to $5,840 million in 1950, to $12,900 by the end of 1962. In that same year, 1962, U.S. monopolies reaped a total profit of more than $10,000 million through the exploitation of the “underdeveloped countries” alone. This was more than 70 percent of total U.S. profits from abroad.
As for “aid to the undeveloped countries” it has been well documented that its sole effect has been to tighten the stranglehold of the political-social coalition of wealthy compradors, powerful big capitalists and large feudal landowners dedicated to maintaining the existing order on which they batten. Through such “aids” Washington interferes in the internal affairs of the “undeveloped countries,” obtains privileges for U.S. investments and sale of U.S. goods in these countries, fosters pro-U.S. political elements and in a number of instances sets up outright puppet regimes.
Moreover, the “aid” itself is more apparent than real. In an article in the Nation of November 16th, Andrew Gunder Frank, Visiting Professor in the University of Brasilia reveals that on the basis of data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce for the period 1950-61, new private U.S. investment in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Venezuela, Columbia and Mexico was $2,962 million and remittances of profit and interest $6,875 million–a net withdrawal of $3,913 million from the economies of those countries. “Aid” and loans to these countries amounted to $3,384 million while repayment of interest was $1,554 million. Elementary arithmetic demonstrates that the overall inflow of $6,875 million was topped by the overall outflow of $8,429 million. U.S. “aid” and investments are the instruments by which U.S. monopoly capital extracts the super profits it needs to survive from the “underdeveloped countries.”
Under these conditions the gap between the rich nations and the poor has widened and continues to widen. The United States per capita income was 15 times that of India in 1938; today it is 35 times the Indian level. Recently the Director of the FAO (Food Administration Org. of U.N.) stated: “During the last decade per capita national income has increased by $20 a year in the industrialized countries and by only $1 in the undeveloped regions.” As depicted in Lenin’s classic analysis large sections of U.S. workers are today, with the connivance of the corrupt, social democratic trade union officialdom, being bribed into collaboration with their own exploiters by “left-overs” from imperialist spoils.
Included among Washington’s neo-colonialist new-style approaches to the undeveloped countries and peoples is the dragooning of client governments into military blocs (SEATO and CENTO) and the sponsoring of all kinds of economic “federations” and “communities.”
The United Nations, too, has become an increasingly important instrument for “legalizing” U.S. intervention into the internal affairs of these countries and subjecting them to military, economic and cultural aggression. Korea, the Congo and Cyprus as well as current efforts to inject the U.S.-controlled United Nations into the Indo-China crisis are examples. On March 26, 1962 Undersecretary of State Ball cited the advantages of making the Congo safe for U.S. penetration and control by operating under the United Nations banner. “From the point of view of our national security,” he said, “would it have been better to send in the American Marines, or to act with others to send the United Nations in the name of the World Community?”
Finally, when and if it becomes impossible to maintain control by such “peaceful” means Washington strategists do not hesitate to engineer military coups (most recently in Brazil and Laos) or to resort to open armed intervention and aggression as in South Vietnam.
While Washington piously prates of its far-flung defense of “freedom,” “self-determination,” “democracy,” “civilization,” “independence,” “humanity” etc. etc. ad nauseam, the ubiquitous CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) goes its grisly way. In a recent book called “The Invisible Government” by David Wise and Thomas Ross the cover is lifted on a small part of this Administration-directed agency’s world-wide activities. According to Orville Prescott of the New York Times,
Some of the matters discussed in these startling pages are: the strange history of the Bay of Pigs fiasco; the success of the CIA in arranging the coup d’etat that threw out the Mossadegh government in Iran in 1953 and the Arbenz government in Guatemala in 1954; the CIA’s disastrous support of Indonesian rebels in 1958 which hardly made Sukarno more sympathetic to the Western nations; the equally misguided CIA support of Chinese nationalist guerrillas in Burma, which antagonized the Burmese with equally grievous results...
In short, the economic expansion and savage “reaction right down the line” of U.S. imperialism today is on a scale unprecedented in the entire history of imperialism.
The Kennedy-Johnson Administration is fast replacing the old colonialism with the neo-colonialism of the United States.
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It is not only abroad that imperialism pursues its maximum profits through the brutal exploitation, wholesale robbery, ruin and impoverishment of whole peoples. Within our own borders the same ruthless and systematic oppression and plunder is practised against the Negro people. Four billion dollars in super-profits is an extremely conservative estimate of the annual stake of imperialism in the suppression of the Negro people.
Like the other enslaved colored peoples of the world the Negro people have taken up the battle for their own liberation. This movement is of extreme significance because it takes place within the borders of the United States and represents the most serious, militant and consistent fight against U.S. imperialism by any sector of the American people. It is a major contribution to the struggle of the entire international proletariat and to the liberation movements of oppressed peoples everywhere.
As with all national liberation movements the Negro peoples movement includes various class forces with certain common goals and fundamental differences. This movement has already passed through various stages and accumulated much experience. Many illusions have been and are in the process of being shattered. Today we are beginning to witness the emergence of a new Negro radicalism which is moving toward a thoroughgoing revolutionary position not only on methods of fighting an anti-colonial war but also on goals. The leaders of this developing trend sees the Negro freedom movement not as an isolated minority but as part of a great and growing world majority. Robert F. Williams of Monroe, North Carolina, writing from exile in Havana says, “Our friends are growing throughout the world, while those of our oppressors are diminishing. It is important that we immediately create stronger ties with our brothers of Latin America, Asia and Africa.” He also grasped with unerring insight the great significance of the statement of the Chinese leader Mao Tse-tung in support of the Negro people’s fight for freedom:
In 1863, at the time when a great struggle was being conducted to liberate the black slaves of the U.S.A., President Abraham Lincoln issued a declaration of freedom called the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln’s proclamation had a profound impact on both the slave and the insensate slave holder. It gave hope and courage to the slave and added impetus to the liberation struggle...it also struck terror in the hearts of the slaveholders...
The great tragedy of Lincoln’s proclamation is the sad fact that the great emancipation it promised has never been fully realized. The Afro-American in the racist U.S.A has merely experienced a token transition from wageless slavery to a most brutal and inhumane form of wage slavery geared to the instability of capitalist exploitation. The Afro-American is the most exploited and oppressed of the U.S. working-class. He lives as a disinherited colonial within the confines of the so-called leading country of the ’free world!’
It is significant that 100 years after Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation, the great revolutionary leader and emancipator of the People’s Republic of China, Chairman Mao Tse-tung has proclaimed in the name of the Chinese people the right of the Afro-American to liberty and equality. His proclamation marks a new era in the almost 400 year struggle of black Americans for human rights. His appeal to all of the civilized peoples of the world to support our struggle against the oppressive, racist and imperialist savages of the U.S.A. lifts it to its proper perspective on the international scene. It gives it international scope instead of its former narrow national characteristic.
The new Negro radicalism also rejects the concept of “coexisting peacefully” and “cooperating” with its oppressors and regards with contempt as “utopian” and odious the timid search for “acceptance within the white man’s rotten and dying imperialist power structure. In the words of Max Stanford, chairman of the Negro Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), “RAM’s philosophy is one of the world black revolution or world revolution of oppressed peoples rising up against their former slavemaster. Our movement is a movement of black people who are coordinating their efforts to create a ’new world’ free from exploitation and oppression of man by man.”
The new Negro radicalism is, in short, moving step by step toward recognition that the Negro freedom movement which is a part of the world-wide national democratic revolutions is, in the final analysis, a class struggle and an important component of the contemporary proletarian world revolution.
It would be the sheerest self-deception and deception of others not to point out that the policies of the Khruschev leadership and all those who make “peaceful coexistence” and “peaceful economic competition” the main and overriding consideration of the world Marxist movement are, in effect, negating the revolutionary struggles of the oppressed peoples. Counseling the lamb to lie down with the lion this policy proclaims that “colonialism is disappearing” thanks to “peaceful coexistence” and all that is necessary to bring about its final collapse is more of the same. Since any revolutionary “spark” might, according to this “theory,” ignite a nuclear fire and upset the “peaceful coexistence” under which colonialism is ”naturally” disappearing, the most important thing is not to rock the boat.
This is to play the game of the neo-colonialists who are likewise firm believers in the “natural” disappearance of colonialism under such hammer-blows as U.S.-U.S.S.R. jointly supported anti-colonial resolutions in the United Nations! In a speech before the U.N. General Assembly Khruschev said:
...we appeal to the reason and far sightedness of the peoples of the Western countries, to their governments and their representatives at this high assembly of the United Nations. Let us agree on measures for the abolition of the colonial system of government and thereby accelerate the natural historical process.
Stung by the penetrating criticism of the Chinese Communist Party and the apparent unwillingness of the oppressed people to “coexist” with their oppressors until the walls of imperialism automatically “come tumbling down” on that great-big-come-and-get-it-day when Khruschev proves that socialism can supply a higher standard of living than capitalism–the Soviet leadership had, of late, been indulging in a good deal of verbal violence against U.S. imperialism. But this fools no one, least of all Washington’s strategists. Senator Fulbright in his recent celebrated speech showed a fine sensitivity to Khruschev’s problems assuring him that what was expected of the Soviet leaders was to “abandon their global ambitions” (Washington usage for supporting national liberation movements) “in fact if not in words.” Allowances are under for the fact that to cover up its bleating the lamb must roar like a lion!
Having exhausted all other sophistries in opposing genuine revolutionary liberation struggles the Soviet leadership is now falling back on that most reactionary and pernicious of all imperialist theories–racism. The principle Marxist stand of uncompromising support to the national freedom movements is described as “creating racial and geographical barriers” and “playing upon the national and even racial prejudices of the Asian and African peoples.”
This is a charge in which all American Marxists and in the first place Negro American Marxists and the whole Negro people recognize complete and utter bankruptcy. They hear in it echoes of U.S. white supremacist lunacy which holds that the militancy of the Negro peoples demands for freedom, equality and jobs is discrimination against whites! But the color consciousness of the oppressed peoples has nothing in common with white racism. It is the very opposite. It stems not from subjective prejudice but from the objective reality that the most brutal forms of imperialist exploitation have and still do hew to color lines and are forcibly imposed by whites on colored peoples. It is no less an objective fact that sections of white workers in the imperialist countries have to a substantial degree been bought off by crumbs from the imperial table and have been infected with the malignancy of ruling class racial theories. In this respect U.S. imperialism is twice guilty conducting, as it does, “special warfare” and super exploitation against colored peoples in a world-wide empire and against the Negro people at home.
It is with U.S. imperialism, mainstay and world “carrier” of Dixiecrat white supremacy that the Soviet leadership seeks “peaceful coexistence” and “accommodation” as the main content, the general line of the international revolutionary movement. Its charge of “racism” against China for its all-out support to the liberation movements of Asia, Africa and Latin America as well as to the American Negro people will certainly “come home to roost.”
In the past few years the balance of strength within the imperialist camp has been rapidly changing. Consequently the contradictions between these countries is becoming increasingly acute. The rate of economic growth of the United States lags far behind that of West Europe and Japan. At the very moment that the United States aggressively seeks to assert its “leadership” over a “united” imperialist camp it is losing its supremacy in the capitalist world.
The two economic groupings in Western Europe–the Common Market countries with France and West Germany as its nucleus and the Free Trade Area centered around Britain have together surpassed the United States in size of population, steel output, value of exports and gold reserves, though not in industrial production. The U.S. share in the export of manufactures has shown a consistently downward trend in recent years. In 1948 U.S. industrial production accounted for 53.4 per cent of that of the whole capitalist world. By 1960 it had declined to 44.1 per cent and 43 per cent in 1961. Inl963West Germany, for the first time exported a greater value of manufactured goods than the U.S. and spurted into the lead in this field. Deficits in international payments and large outflows of gold have created periodic dollar crises for the U.S.
Although the United States remains, for the present, the most powerful country in the imperialist camp, having considerable financial strength and military superiority over its allies, the West European countries are no longer absolutely dependent on the U.S. as in the immediate postwar period. They are flexing their muscles and moving to secure for themselves the political and military status commensurate with their new strength. Consequently great cleavages have developed within the imperialist camp and new alignments are in the making. Lenin’s thesis that “uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism” retains its validity with full force.
The development of these inter-imperialist conflicts is extremely complex and does not proceed in a simple straight line. This is due to the fact that while the allies resist control by the U.S., as the most powerful imperialist nation the United States still exercises considerable influence on the policies of many Western countries. Moreover, these Western powers are at one with the U. S. on matters concerning the fundamental interests of the imperialist world. Most important is the fact that each of these allies are pursuing their own individual interests and have their own axe to grind. The resulting inter-relations are increasingly complex and delicate with each trying to outwit the other and all at one time or another, singly or in combination, trying to outwit Washington. But through it all runs the major and decisive conflict–between U.S. domination and opposition to it. The New York Times(May 13,1964) in an editorial commenting on Secretary Rusk’s address to the foreign ministers of NATO remarked that “some of his comments were a bit disingenuous...Secretary Rusk failed to address himself to the one problem about NATO that troubles Europeans as much as the “independence” of France. That is the problem of how to “circumscribe the dominance of the United States.”
The growing contradictions among the imperialist powers give rise to an intensive competition for markets, outlets for investments and sources of raw materials. Herein lies an interwoven cross-pattern of conflict between the old colonial powers and the new, between the victorious imperialist nations and the vanquished.
A most important regional organization in West Europe’s drive for markets and spheres of influence–for the “redivision of the world”– is the European Economic Community or Common Market embracing France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. Although itself an offspring of U.S. “grand strategy” to create a politically, economically and militarily “integrated” Western Europe under U.S. “leadership” it has, like poet Bobby Burns “best laid plans,” gone “all agley.” For today the Common Market is arrayed primarily against the United States.The Common Market is itself, of course, also riddled with inner conflicts. Edwin Dale Jr. long-time economic correspondent for the New York Times wrote in the summer of ’63 that “The ’community spirit’ (in the Common Market) had given way to ’synchronization.’ What this means is that the members now take positions on each issue purely from the point of view of their national interests... these are still very much sovereign nations with different interests and different foreign policies and different views of the world. At no time has a single one of them signified willingness to give up its independence of action except on relatively minor matters.”
Nevertheless, whatever their differences, the monopoly interests of the member countries of the Common Market have, since it was formed, realized handsome profits from it. Despite the inner conflicts, despite U.S. efforts to win over the other members to isolate De Gaulle, they continue to remain for all practical purposes France’s partner in the Economic Community. The Common Market is a powerful factor to be reckoned with in inter-imperialist rivalries and de Gaulle’s influence in it remains, as the French say, formidable!
To meet the challenge of the Common Market the Kennedy-Johnson Administrations have developed a number of lines of attack. Economically, they have intensified their efforts to invest and build factories in the Common Market countries themselves thereby using the export of capital as a means of exerting internal control within the Market. Of 1,874 new U.S. businesses set up in Western Europe in the last five years a Chase Manhattan Bank tabulation shows 345 of these to be in France, 268 in West Germany, 261 in Italy with others in Belgium, Luxembourg and Holland to make a total of 1,298–or some 70 per cent of the overall figures.
Politically, the United States has continued to promote Britain’s entry into the Common Market (Britain was blackballed by France in January 1963) in an effort to weaken French influence from within as well as to place her in a position to play the Red Piper and lead the Common Market meekly into the U.S.–designed “Atlantic partnership.” Taking advantage of Britain’s global difficulties (Aden, Cyprus, Malaya, etc.) Washington has been forcing London into ever greater subservience in the role of counter-weight to France. In its concentrated effort to isolate the main thorn in its side–France–it has been making a play to win over the other five Common Market powers, especially West Germany, which it is wooing with the promise of making her “partner No. 1.”
Militarily, the United States is determined to hold on to its nuclear monopoly within the Western camp by opposing the West European countries’ acquisition of independent nuclear forces. In order to divert the demand for such forces Washington has devised the Polaris-equipped multilateral nuclear naval project which has received the all-out enthusiastic support from West Germany alone. While Washington’s purpose in making West Germany partner No. 1 is to tighten its own grip on the latter, Bonn has plans of its own which include sharing nuclear control with the U.S. She relies on her key bargaining position to help her do it. Her post-war experience on the question of the step by step rearmament of Western Germany reassures her that what Bonn wants, Bonn eventually gets! Already powerful friends of West Germany are speaking up. Dean Acheson, former U.S. Secretary of State and since 1961 a frequent adviser on foreign policy to the White House maintains that:
...only the closet joint collaboration between the German and American Governments can produce any progress in this period of deep freeze (for U.S. plans in West Europe)...Military progress is stymied until something is done about allied association in the nuclear arm. The most helpful road to this end both militarily and politically, is the multilateral force, where all willing to come in are to man the ships and join in the planning and command.
But obstacles to Washington’s three-pronged attack loom on every side. Contradictions rooted in the everyday business of economics and policies mushroom. U.S.-French relations are, at present, in a highly antagonistic phase. France, under De Gaulle has categorically refused to reconcile itself to U.S. “overlordship.” She is demanding an end to U.S. primacy and seeks for herself a position of independence and equality in Western leadership. To this end De Gaulle has aggressively pursued a number of initiatives in the political, military and economic spheres which are in direct defiance of U.S. plans for “an integrated Europe within the Atlantic community.”
To counter Johnson’s courtship with West Germany and Italy, De Gaulle has been engaged in some “friendly persuasion” of his own. He talked with both Erhard and Segni after their return from Washington. Skillfully stressing the benefits of Common Market cooperation, he offered tempting collaboration in economic and political fields and hinted at political reprisals if this was spurned. De Gaulle has also taken steps to smooth relations as well as establish “closest contacts with Britain on all possible levels.” Within the NATO Alliance France continues to block the United States. She has withdrawn French military and naval units from the NATO command and has convinced most NATO members that the Alliance structure is badly out-dated and in need of “structural reforms!”
On many international issues France stands openly opposed to the United States. She maintains her individual position on the issue of West Berlin, the peace treaty with Germany and East-West relations in general. She has refused to take part in the 18-nation disarmament conference in Geneva and has declined to be a signatory to the partial test ban treaty. Moreover she has remained adamant in her determination to build an independent nuclear force of her own.
France, under De Gaulle, is now moving strongly into the international arena. In Southeast Asia where she was the colonial power in Indo-China for some 80 years she maintains what she calls her “traditional ties.” As U.S. aggression in that area meets with firm opposition and is fast approaching a debacle France is actively making her “presence” felt. After proposing the neutralization of south Vietnam, i De Gaulle followed through with an additional proposal for a neutrality treaty embracing all of Southeast Asia. Taking advantage of the developing differences between the United States and Japan she has been stepping up her contacts with that Asian power. Of far-reaching, world impact was De Gaulle’s decision to establish diplomatic relations with China.
France also has “traditional ties” with the Arab world and de Gaulle has shown himself eager to mend such fences as had been damaged in the wake of the abortive Suez campaign. French foreign policy today envisages the creation of a third bloc which would hold the balance between Moscow and Washington and which would not only include the former French territories in Africa but even penetrate into what Washington considers its own “private preserve”–Latin America where the General recently toured with great public eclat.
On 5/18/64 U.S. News And World Report raged that “France continues to flail in all directions, never pulling punches. Washington is more harassed by this ally than by many opponents. And there seems to be a number of rounds coming up before the bout is over.”
In more staid language the New York Times declared that “Franco-American relations, which have been steadily deteriorating, now head towards global confrontation.”
With the U.S. and France at loggerheads West Germany finds itself in the advantageous position of being wooed by both sides. Pursuing its own ends, which is to make West Germany a “full-fledged big power” Bonn rewards, punishes or teases both her “suitors” according to the particular situation and what she can get out of it. Besides “carrying on” with Washington and Paris Bonn is now averse to a little courting of Britain on the side. In this way it not only strengthened its bargaining position vis a vis the U.S. and France but also cuts itself in on certain economic advantages within the British Commonwealth and the British-influenced Free Trade Area. On a recent visit to Britain Erhard strongly reaffirmed his support for Britain’s entry into the Common Market.
While reveling in Bonn’s “special new relationship” with Washington, achieved during Erhard’s January visit to Johnson’s Texas ranch, the German Chancellor, by no means “passion’s fool,” has no intention of “throwing over” France! Erhard is keenly aware that the Bonn-Paris axis is an indispensable asset in bargaining with Washington. Hot on the heels of his Texas visit he repeated that “friendship and reconciliation” between Paris and West Germany is the “foundation” of West German policy. February found him in Paris consulting with de Gaulle. June finds him once more in Washington. While many differences remained after the Erhard-de Gaulle consultations in Paris they did agree on “close cooperation” in “supplying development aid” to Latin American countries. They also announced concurrence on the problem of tariff reduction in the Common Market which, in effect, constituted preparation for the forthcoming “Kennedy Round” of tariff negotiations in Geneva.
West German strategy consists of playing the field three ways; pro-United States, alliance with France and accommodation with Britain– with the emphasis shifting and the ardor rising and cooling according to changing conditions–but every move dedicated to the promotion of West German “big power” aims.
Britain has fallen on hard times in the Western alliance. Since her acceptance of the Nassau agreement and her subsequent failure to “make” THE Common Market her position as “second in command” within the alliance has been steadily declining. Determined to regain some initiative Britain has, of late, been trying in various ways to assert a policy of independence. For purposes of maintaining her status as a first class power she is trying to recapture her role as “honest broker” in U.S.-Soviet talks. Prime Minister Home has also been emphasizing his Government’s determination to retain an independent nuclear force. And Britain has, in the meantime, been doing some courting of its own. While trying to ease relations with France on the one hand it has also been making up to West Germany and Italy on the other in an attempt to isolate France which continues to oppose her coveted entry into the Common Market.
London’s efforts toward independence have not, however, yielded the desired results because in many crucial areas (Aden, Malaysia and Cyprus for example) she remains desperately dependent on U.S. assistance diplomatically and militarily. Moreover, like a rejected suitor, she has not yet relinquished the hope of reconstituting the Anglo-American “special relationship.”
The irrespressible conflicts springing up to plague the Western Alliance are beginning to make Pandora’s box resemble a picnic basket. On May 5 the French threatened to stall the whole “Kennedy Round” of tariff negotiations just getting under way in Geneva among the leading trading nations. The U.S., fearful of an open rift, was forced to compromise its basic principle of an across-the-board 50 per cent cut in tariffs. Despite threats and arm-twisting Washington’s allies insist on trading with socialist Cuba. To U.S. criticism of Britain’s sale of buses to Cuba a British manufacturer retorted: “If America has a surplus of wheat we have a surplus of buses.” France has given the official green light to a contract for 20 locomotives for Cuba and has backed up the deal with credit.
To further complicate life for U.S. planners France, which for a number of years has had the world’s largest surplus in her international balance of payments, has very large holdings of dollars. Says the U.S. News and World Report “The United States Treasury is never quite sure and World Report “The United States Treasury is never quite sure what France will do next ...From time to time, Paris has shown nervousness about holding dollars, has preferred gold...The U.S. Treasury doesn’t like the French–or other foreigners–to cash their dollars into gold. This operation deletes United States gold stocks.”
Such is life in the “Atlantic Community” and such are some of the realities behind Washington’s at once aggressive and gingerly approach to the obstreperous Charles de Gaulle.
There is a school of thought reflected in the comments of the publication “Minority of One” (Sept. 1963, p. 10) which credits Khruschev’s “brilliant” diplomacy for the disarray within the Western Alliance. This thinking is certainly a “chip off the old block” itself. Like Khruschev’s “understanding,” “reasonable,” “sober” imperialists (Kennedy, Johnson, Harriman etc.) who are opposed to aggression and all for “peaceful coexistence,” it bases itself not on the laws of social development to discover why and how ruling groups of imperialists follow their own interests but gives the decisive role to such subjective factors as “understanding.” Khruschev, apparently, gave the Western imperialists to understand by his “appeasement” (Minority of One’s own word) that they had nothing to fear from the Soviet Union and thereupon they set to fighting among themselves. What they actually thereupon set to doing was to wean the Eastern Democracies from their ties to the Soviet Union in an increasingly successful effort to split the Eastern European section of the socialist camp and reverse socialism in that part of the world.
As for the reasons why the Western powers find themselves more and more in bitter conflict we prefer to look to the operation of the laws of development of imperialism. In 1952 Joseph Stalin wrote that some people:
...consider that the contradictions between the socialist camp and the capitalist camp are more acute than the contradictions among the capitalist countries...they see the outward phenomena that come and go on the surface, but they do not see the profound forces which, although they are so far operating imperceptibly, will nevertheless determine the course of developments.
Outwardly everything would seem to be “going well”: the U.S.A. has put Western Europe, Japan and other capitalist countries on rations;...But it would be mistaken to think that things can continue to go well for ’all eternity,’ that these countries will tolerate the domination and oppression of the United States endlessly, that they will not endeavor to tear loose from American bondage and take the path of independent development.
Take, first of all, Britain and France. Undoubtedly they are imperialist countries. Undoubtedly cheap raw materials and secure markets are of paramount importance to them. Can it be assumed that they will endlessly tolerate the present situation, in which...Americans are penetrating into the economies of Britain and France and trying to convert them into adjuncts of the United States economy, and American capitalists seizing raw materials and markets in the British and French markets and thereby plotting disaster for the high profits of the British and French capitalists? Would it not be truer to say that capitalist Britain and after her capitalist France, will be compelled in the end to break from the embrace of the U.S.A and enter into conflict with it in order to secure an independent position and, of course, high profits?
Let us pass to the major vanquished countries, Germany (Western) and Japan...only yesterday these countries were great imperialist powers and were shaking the foundations of the domination of Britain, the U.S.A and France in Europe and Asia. To think that these countries will not try to get on their feet again, will not try to smash U.S. domination and force their way to independent development, is to believe in miracles.
The battle between the West European powers and the United States for “leadership” and control of Western Europe has just begun. Far from the vaunted “new unity” within Europe, or the oratorically celebrated “Atlantic Partnership,” the intensity of the imperialist rivalries and the acuteness of the struggle for domination of industrially developed Western Europe has seldom been matched in the whole history of that cradle of capitalism. Never before has the tussle among imperialist counties been so extensive in peace-time, reaching into every corner of Western Europe, and never before has it taken the form of such a fierce and relentless scramble for industrially developed areas. This is eloquent testimony to one of the central truths of our time–that due to the national revolutionary movements of Asia, Africa and Latin America the capitalist world market continues to shrink and the general crisis of capitalism to deepen. At times this struggle may grow somewhat less acute than at others and may even result in certain compromises or the formation of “alliances” of groups of states. But such “relaxations” always generate more acute and widespread contradictions. It is certain that with time this struggle will become not less but more intense and bitter.
The United States is facing severe economic difficulties without the leeway and manoeverability it enjoyed in the halcyon post-war years when it had the “free world” market pretty much to itself. The imperialist scramble for western Europe and for global “spoils” is acquiring something of the nature of a life and death struggle.
Although the Kennedy-Johnson “grand design” for U.S. world domination makes every effort to sum up the lessons of the post World War II defeats sustained by U.S. imperialism and is the supreme creation of Washington’s “best brains,” it cannot stem the historic tide.
Because U.S. “grand strategy” reaches into every corner of the globe in a bid to control the affairs of nations and peoples, advanced and undeveloped alike, it has aroused a whirlwind of opposition which can and is solidifying into a front of the worlds people against it. Militarily it can only result in such weaknesses as a long frontline, a distant rear, scattered strength and consequent extreme passivity. Economically, since it demands the constant development and perfecting of nuclear weapons as well as the expansion of conventional and “special” arms, it adds to the burden of military expenditures and intensifies the deepening financial crisis.
Devised to deal with U.S. imperialism’s major interest and external con contradictions this “global strategy” only succeeds in aggravating them on every side. Whether Republicans or Democrats rule realizable long-range goals are no longer possible for imperialism. Washington “proposes” but history “disposes!” Its “best laid” plans are the instruments of its own defeat.
For Americans who want jobs, freedom and peace the need is to correctly assess the time we live in, to see beyond the surface manifestations of the “affluent society” to the fundamental long-term forces at work. This is a historic period of revolutionary ferment and victory. It is a time when the peoples’ strength is in the ascendant. It is a time to distinguish between friend and foe and between false and true friends. It is a time to stand with our true friends and oppose our common enemy. We must be part of the world-wide front against U.S. imperialism.
It would not do to belittle the cupidity and cunning of U.S. imperialism’s “grand strategy” or make light of its ability to inflict serious damage and even cause temporary setbacks to the peoples’ movements. But the greater the strength of the socialist countries, the firmer the unity of the socialist camp on the principled basis of Marxism-Leninism, the broader the liberation movement of the oppressed nations and the more vigorous the struggle of the working people in the capitalist countries the greater the possibility of manacling U.S. imperialism, of defeating its “grand strategy,” of preventing a new world war.
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At the opening of the New York World’s Fair young Americans-Negro and white–surrounded the symbolic Unisphere with its message of “peace” and added the missing and necessary ingredient in a cry heard round the world: Freedom Now!
The fight for Freedom, Peace and Social Progress are all indispensable and intermeshing parts in the battle to route U.S. imperialism’s “grand strategy.”
 Lenin, The State and Revolution.
 Lenin, The Peace Question, Collected Works, 4th Russian edition Vol. 21, p. 263, Moscow.
 Gus Hall, The Only Choice–Peaceful Coexistence, New Century Publishers, p. 4.
 Lenin, Imperialism, The Highest Stage of Capitalism, Selected Works, International Publishers, Vol. 5, p. 101-102.
 Lenin, The United States of Europe Slogan, Selected Works, International Publishers, 1943, Vol. 5, p. 141.
 Stalin, Economic Problems of Socialism in the U.S.S.R., International Publishers, 1952.