Arne Swabeck Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page

Arne Swabeck

War Sparks Fly in Far East; Powers Arm

Wall Street Plays Its Own Game in Recognition
and Prepares for Coming War in Pacific

(January 1934)

From The Militant, Vol. VII No. 2, 20 January 1934, pp. 1 & 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Speaking before the Soviet Congress on December the 29th, Litvinoff said: “Inasmuch as she herself is deeply interested in the preservation of peace, America has become by contact with our union one of the most powerful factors for peace and is cooperating with us to that end”. Further on in his report he added: “It must not be thought that all capitalist governments are aiming at war. For many of them, that is far from being the case, which is why we who earnestly desire peace are eager and ready to cooperate with genuinely pacifist countries – and sections of public opinion in any country, where we find them.” (New York Times, December 30th) Among Litvinoff’s “genuinely pacifist countries” the United States is apparently to be counted.

Just the day before this report was given President Roosevelt proclaimed at the dinner of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation: “It therefore has seemed clear to me as president that the time has come to supplement and to implement the declaration of President Wilson by the further declaration that the definite policy of the United States from now on is one opposed to armed intervention.”

Pacifism to Screen War Aims

Both statements, if taken at face value, are of the kind which can serve only to deceive the working masses. But they should not be taken at face value because neither statement is true.

For President Roosevelt the purpose of his declaration is clear. It is meant to shield the actual preparations now being made for the coming furious imperialist conflicts in which the United States will set out for definite conquests on a large scale.

Coming from Litvinoff the declarations quoted carry a devastating disorientation to the revolutionists who have not yet learned to distinguish between the politics of the Stalin regime and those of Lenin’s leadership. We need recall only one paragraph of the resolution adopted at the Bolshevik party Congress on May 9, 1917: “Our party will explain to the people with patience and preciseness the truth that war is always bound up indissolubly with the policies of certain definite classes, that this war may only be terminated by a democratic peace if the government powers of at least some of the belligerent countries are handed over to the class of the proletariat and semi-proletariat who are really capable of putting an end to the bondage of capitalism.” U.S. Imperialist Designs

Not withstanding Litvinoff’s declarations to the contrary, the time has come particularly to emphasize that in the actual and now much more open maneuvers and preparations for military conquests of new markets, for the redivision of the world, American imperialism plays the dominant part. It is already laying the basis to become the greatest aggressor. At breathtaking speed it is moving forward to the point where the ordinary imperialist pillage and thievery coupled with increasing political intervention becomes transformed into conquest by other means – by means of the most ingenious war implements modern industry can devise.

That is the only correct explanation to the Roosevelt naval construction program for an American Navy “second to none” By September 1 last year a total of 39 war ships, to cost $238,000,000 had been contracted for; construction began immediately under the aegis of the “New Deal”. That is also the explanation of the discovery by General McArthur, chief-of-staff, that the strength of the American army is far below the ordinary margin of safety.

The Game of American Imperialism

Those who control affairs in the United States pursue their own aims toward the Soviet Union and in relation to the Far East. No one should be deceived by the alleged peaceful intentions of Soviet recognition. It was calculated on gaining access to the huge Soviet market. But as far as the American government is concerned it was also hastened by the unbridled advance of the Japanese in Manchuria. Japanese imperialism puts its claws into a juicy morsel covering some 500,000 square miles, a land rich in natural resources and having a population of 40,000,000. Recent reports from the Far East reveal that in the North China market American trade is now below 15% of the total at Tientsin as compared to 42.2% in 1929 while the Japanese trade accounts for more than 40% of the total.

In which direction is Japan headed? It is pilfering sniping, intimidating and terrorizing at the Soviet border. Its military forces are pointed toward the maritime province of Vladivostok. But in any event it will also pursue the objective of further intrenchment in China. There it will encounter in the main the opposition of the United States.

The U.S. versus Japan

China is today the most coveted booty. The fewer countries that are left in the world today into which the imperialist powers can export capital profitably, that is, colonies and dependent nations, the more bitter is the fight for the subjugation and partition of such nations. It is a life and death matter for American imperialism to find these fields for greater subjugation and partition. Hence its attention is now turning more directly to the Far East.

The Japanese imperialist diplomats and military leaders understand this perfectly well. They never fail to make it clear. They never fail to mention the role of the United States in the same breath when they hurl insults against the Soviet Union. Their statements abound in belligerency. General Araki, the fire eating supreme leader of present day Japanese affairs, declared recently before the Japanese Supreme War Council that China is being supported in its anti-Japanese policies by the United States. He points to the fifty million dollar wheat and cotton loan as proof. “There is no telling what America will do,” declared Araki, “when her navy is definitely superior to Japan’s after 1935.” In the same speech the general conjured up the spectre of concentration of the red army in the East. The Japanese foreign minister, Koki Hirota, two days after he assumed office, on September 14, declared: “The United States should keep her hands off eastern affairs.”

Japan Moving against Soviet Union

In this furiously developing tension in the Far East the part played by the American government should not escape our attention. It has very special objects in the Soviet recognition in relation to this situation. It goes without saying that the Soviet Union on its side has much to gain from American recognition. But that Is not what concerns the American government. The Red Army stands at the far eastern Soviet ready to defend it. The Soviet Union seeks no conquests in China. But American imperialism does, and it will contend with the Japanese for mastery as it will contend with the other powers there to strengthen its own sphere of influence and lay hold on the vast Chinese territory.

The Japanese diplomats and military leaders, as is known, are preparing for an assault on the Soviet border. They envision the Soviet Union becoming strengthened by American credits and are undoubtedly anxious to strike before this takes place. But does the United States extend recognition and credits in order to strengthen the Soviet Union? Is this a sign of a friendlier attitude? Not at all. The imperialist government at Washington understand the Japanese intentions at the Soviet border as well as the Japanese imperialists understand the intended American invasion of China.

Far East Tension Increases

Both aim at the further partitioning of dismembered China and the further subjugation and exploitation of the Chinese masses already bled white by the imperialist robber bands. The Japanese war lords show their growing inclination to strike northward against the Soviet I’nion at the earliest possible date and before the latter can strengthen its industrial structure by means of closer trade relations with the United States.

Unquestionably this fits right in with the Roosevelt policies. It holds the prospects of speeding up American exports to the Soviet market and, above all, the prospects that the Japanese war lords may break their teeth at the Soviet border. After that, the possibilities of American mastery in China would increase. In this sense the American recognition of the Soviet Union undoubtedly tends to accelerate the Japanese war plans.

But this will also show the more clearly why we should not be deceived about the peaceful intentions of the American government in granting recognition. It is plainly a matter of ruthlessly advancing the most direct interests of American imperialism. It brings the danger of imperialist war as well as the danger of an attack upon the Soviet Union much nearer.

When President Roosevelt recognized the Soviet Union the capitalist press of the country drew a clear line of demarcation between the present Stalin leadership and the former leadership of Lenin.

American imperialism remains the chief enemy of October.

Arne Swabeck Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 9 February 2016