I. THE METAMORPHOSES OF THE IMPERIALISM
Chapter I of the Book THE WAR OF WORLD CLASSIFICATION,
Robert Kurz, January 2003.
In the world of the modern system producer of goods, politics is only the prosecution of the economic competition by other means, like the war (in accordance with a phrase of Clausewitz) is the politics continuation by other means. This harmonized identity among competition, politics and war is the one that implies the struggle for the planetary hegemony and writes the capitalism history.
In the first place the initially polycentric struggle for the capitalist world domination was purely European and had its roots in the history of the formation of the capitalist production way in the western and central Europe. From the XVI until the XIX century were simultaneously constituted the modern system producer of goods and the European territorial national states whose nation concept would expand to the rest of the world and it would determine the whole world history until the end of the XX century. Subsequently, the gigantic extensions of the extra-European regions arose, only as politically empty spaces and as apple of discord in the colonial expansion of Europe. The European process of states and nations construction became soon an escalade of the conflict for the world hegemony of these emergent capitalist entities on economic-national and national-state basis.
Once begun the struggle for the colonial territories, and taken to overseas, the world market was identified, from the beginning, with the world war. The career of the European national states for the hegemony had to end up in an undecided way, because, beginning with the initial conditions, none of them had a decisive advantage. Until the end of the XVIII century, the role of dominant power changed several times, coinciding with the one of the pioneer in the process of capitalist development.
During a great part of the XIX century, Great Britain was able to assume the nº 1 power world position, at the same time as, in order to keep time of the industrialization, dominated the decisive transformation on whose foundations the capitalist production way began to be developed. But the prosecution of France and mainly of Germany in the industrial development made this advance only tangential at the beginning of the XX century and restored once again the political-military balance of the powers. In the time of the two industrialized world wars and of the economic world crisis of the period between them, and linked to them, the depredator capitalist European States-nations fought against each other leaving the battle field deadly exhausted. The world market collapsed; the world trade went back to a level only comparable with the one of the end of the XIX century. Due to this, the danger of impeding the continuation of the capitalist development in the internal markets of the national economies and of the States folded on themselves arose.
This collapse caused by the European struggle for the world capitalist domination was already the prelude of an absolute limit of the modern system producer of goods. But it was only the prelude. The wave of socio-economic world catastrophes of the first half of the XX century was, in the first place, politically and militarily induced, that is to say, in the marginal forms of the capitalist relationships, while the economic space of maneuver of the world capitalist development was still far from being exhausted. Naturally this could not be recognized then, while the events took place. But from the current perspective it can be said that the time of the world wars and of the world crisis bound to them, was the last catastrophe resulting of the implantation of the capitalist production way (that is to say, inside an economic movement largely upward), but not its absolute internal limit that should mark the end of the upward economic movement.
The Pax Americana: The struggle for the world capitalist domination is decided.
As a result of the world wars period, the consequent development of the unsuccessful struggle of Europe for the capitalist world hegemony was essentially determined by a political-military impasse, and this in a double sense.
On one hand, the dependent or "underdeveloped" regions from a capitalist point of view and located in the periphery of the world market used the weaknesses of the hegemonic European States of the capitalism centre, that bled and licked themselves their own wounds, to shake off the colonial domination of Europe and their external political dependence.
The first step of this decolonisation movement and of "recuperating modernization" that crossed the entire XX century, took place immediately after the First World War with the October Revolution in Russia, no doubt the Eastern French Revolution. It is true that the czars Empire was a part of the traditional European powers and had stolen a colonial empire, although not in overseas, but as expansion toward the Eurasia continental area. But, at the same time, Russia was itself also periphery, without an industrial basis of its own and, in many aspects, it looked to a large degree structurally alike to the colonial and dependent regions. Lenin always saw the Russian Revolution in the double context of antieuropean colonial revolution and of "recuperating modernization ", with the idea of "learning with Western Europe".
The resultant orientation of this, although ideologically masked as capitalist state "socialism", could only be the creation of an independent industrial basis and of an internal market in the national state frame, to be able to participate in the capitalist world market as an autonomous national subject. It was precisely in this perspective that the paradigm of the October Revolution irradiated towards the whole periphery and transformed the Soviet Union in the aggregating "counterpoint" of the ones historically delayed in competition with the West. The simple masses of the population, territories and natural resources, mobilized in the state capitalist way in the Stalin era repressive process of industrialization, transformed the Soviet counterpoint, also from the political-military perspective, in world counter-power, against which little could oppose the European centre of the western capitalism, drained by its rending fights for the world hegemony.
But the same process that took the European struggle for the world capitalist hegemony to finish in a draw of exhausted and demoralized national subjects, also led the centre of Western capitalist power to suffer a decisive and irreversible transformation. Likewise, parallelly to the political-military emancipation and the "recuperating modernization" of the entire East and South, the USA, in a not totally unobserved manner but in a certain way at the expense of the first European central capitalist powers, became the new nº1 world power.
The power centre of capitalism moved over the Atlantic towards North America. In a very similar way to the Soviet Union, only having for basis a completely different tradition, clearly of capitalist competition instead of bureaucratic state tradition, the simple masses of the population added to an industrial basis developed a long time ago, predestined the USA, a colossus in comparison with the minuscule European nations, to be the directing power of the capital.
The continental ambit of the territory between the Atlantic and the Pacific like the Janus look, simultaneously deviated, towards Europe and Asia), the apparent inexhaustibility of the natural resources, as in Russia, and, on the contrary of Russia, the accumulated purchase power, would constitute the biggest internal market in the world until nowadays.
Therefore the most important capitalist developments, the changes of social structure and the cultural and technological tendencies started in a growing way from the USA to reach everybody on bigger or smaller scale. It is not surprising that the XX century has been considered the "American century" (in the first place, by Henry Lace in 1941, as the North American historian Paul Kennedy observes).
Starting from this basis the military power of the upward world power, the USA, also grew in an until then unknown dimension. The two world wars could only be decided by the USA intervention, and the "victorious" European powers were in a situation similar to the one of the defeated Germany, not only from the point of view of the endured damages, but also because they were quickly forced, more or less in a shameful or undisciplined way, to place themselves under the feudal protection of the USA, to be able to defend their imperial "honour", in a situation in many aspects similar to the divas who, in an advanced age, dream of the successes in the olden days of their youth.
At the end of the Second World War, the superiority of the new nº 1 world power was so impressive in all aspects that it surpassed the respective advantages of the previous European potencies, only temporarily dominant. Not without pride, Paul Kennedy writes: "because the rest of the world, at the end of the war, was so exhausted or it was still in a situation of colonial underdevelopment, the American power in the absence of a better concept - in 1945 was artificially so high as, for example, England in 1815. In spite of this, the real dimensions of its power in absolute numbers were inedited. In fact, the industrial growth in the United States from 1940 to 1944 was above annual 15%, superior to any other previous or later period. The life level and the per capita productivity were superior to those of any other country. The United States was the only country among the big powers that, with the war, became richer -and, in fact, much richer- and not poorer" (Kennedy 1991/1987, pp. 533 and fwd).
At the end of the Second World War, two thirds of the World gold reserves were kept in Fort Knox, the safe of Washington. To this absolute monetary superiority the industrial superiority corresponded: "in 1945, three fourths of the capital invested in the entire world and two thirds of the intact industrial capacities were in the United States" (Ott/Schäfer 1984, 420). Supported by this overwhelming economic capacity, from the Second World War emerged the "economy of permanent war" of USA, whose armament industry, military forces, continuous technological development of the armament and global military presence (today 65 countries in all continents) became quickly unreachable for the remaining powers of the western capitalist centre.
After 1945, only the Soviet Union, as world counter-power that congregated the historically backward countries, could reply, still during some time, as well as, inversely, only the USA, as first Western power, instead of the depressed European powers, could maintain in check the competitive counter-system of the state capitalism and its irradiation power towards the periphery.
Already in the XIX century, the historian and French social theorist, Alexis de Tocqueville correctly foresaw this constellation in a famous and always mentioned prognosis: "Two big people exist on the world today that, starting from different situations, seem to pursue the same objectives: the Russian and the Anglo-American. Both became big unobservedly and as soon as the look of men twisted toward other directions, they arose suddenly in the first line of nations and the world had almost at the same time knowledge of their birth as well as of their greatness. All the other people seemed to have reached the limits that were imposed to them by nature and only existed to hold together; on the contrary, they grow, while the others stagnate or they just barely continue; only they go easily and quickly along a road whose end cannot still be glimpsed. The American fights against the obstacles that nature imposes him; the Russian fights against men. One fights against the jungle and the barbarism; the other fights against the armed civilization with all his weapons: thus the conquests of the American people have been made with the plow of the peasants and those of the Russian with the sword of the soldiers. To reach their aims, the first one leans on the personal benefit and allows acting the individual's force and reason, without directing it; the second one to a certain degree gathers in each man all the force of the society. For one, the main means is freedom, for the other one is servitude. Their starting points are different, their paths are unequal; however, both seem summoned by a secret design of providence to have one day in their hands the destiny of half world". (Tocqueville, 1987, 1853, 615).
What Tocqueville formulates here in the language of the XIX century only becomes real in the XX century: the division of the world between the USA and the USSR and the paroxysm of the fight for the world hegemony in the frame of the modern system producer of goods between these two powers that, in the era of the cold war, were designated pertinently as "superpowers", in counterpoint with the previous big powers and world pre-powers; both, in the same measure and not by chance, were federal multiethnical states to continental scale that surpassed the limited European capitalist concept of nation in all its variants.
Tocqueville even understood in an approximately correct way the antagonistic structure of these two powers that, after 1945 expanded conceptually as "conflict of systems" and, at all events, he formulated it in a less exaggerated way and without the half truths of the protagonists of that antagonism more than one century later. The actual world is as unable as the one of Tocqueville time to understand the general categorial reference system of the modern production of goods as a historically different social form (instead of an social ahistorical ontology). What already for Tocqueville appeared as an essential antagonism is only the two poles of the capitalist socialization of market and state; both equally repressive, because to the bureaucratic power it is not simply opposed the "liberty", but only the so-called market liberty, turned into despotism by the imperative of the competition.
The state capitalism was, in fact, the initial way of constitution of the capitalist production mode; not only in Russia (already from the czarism), but also in Western and Central Europe, it was with this way with which the production mode overcame the agrarian society of the feudalism. What confers an unique peculiarity to the capitalist power of the USA beside the amount of industrial development and of the continental dimension of its internal market - is that this initial way of the European transformation was in this case unnecessary and therefore the capital was able to develop in advanced systemic forms, completely liberated of a historical sedimentation in production modes and pre-modern cultures; the European settlers, liberated of the social structures from which they exited, could not only start from zero for a new development level, but they destroyed the societies of the natives, thus making of the "New World", in a certain way, the virgin earth and the unique experience field of the modernization. After that, in the XX century, the capitals and the industrialization degree of the USA surpassed the European level, this specific historical-cultural characteristic gave a supplementary impulse to its ascension as a superpower.
Comparing the two superpowers, the United States was by far the most advanced society in the field of the modern system producer of goods. Because of this, it could be no doubt on the result of the final struggle for the world capitalist domain. These doubts only arose because it was attributed to the Soviet Union, as supposedly alternative "socialist" system, a resistance capacity and development that didn't really have, precisely because its common quality of society producer of goods determined by the world market placed it outside of a critical analysis. Justly because of that form of common basis, the Soviet Union was never a historical alternative, but only the capitalist world counter-power of the countries historically delayed and, as such, bound to be conquered one day.
This defeat also happened, and not in a smaller degree from the military point of view. Neither from the capitals point of view, nor from the scientific and technological point of view, the Soviet Union could tolerate the permanent armament career. As well as the counter-system of state capitalism was not able to make the transition toward the third industrial revolution, the one of micro-electronic, to maintain in its entirety the forms of social reproduction, the Soviet military might was also more and more backward of the United States regarding the electronic armament by high tech armaments systems. Hereby, in the eighties the East state capitalism economically failed in the world market to whose approaches and models had to compare as system producer of goods, and in the same way it ended up militarily moribund. The total collapse was the logical consequence.
If the polycentric fight of the old European capitalist potencies for the world hegemony transformed itself, from the middle of the XX century, in a bipolar fight, also at the end of the XX century a new monocentric structure and a world capitalist system under the exclusive aegis of the United States is constituted. There is no power, on the basis of the society of the modern system producer of goods that could compete with the USA for the world hegemony, neither from the point of view of military and technological might nor from the point of view of the economic and political dimension or of the financial power.
The USA is really today the "only world power", as the North American political scientist Zbigniew Brezinski (international relationships professor in Baltimore and consultant of the "International Strategic Studies Centre") wrote in its 1997 book with that title on the global hegemony of the United States: "in the last decade of the XX century the world situation was upset deeply. For the first time in history, a non Euro-Asian state became not only the referee of the Eurasian power relationships, but also the directing power in the world sphere. With the failure and later collapse of the Soviet Union, a country of the western hemisphere, the United States, became the unique and in fact the first world power" (Brezinski 1999, 15).
This new characteristic of unique surviving superpower was not determined only by the special historical qualities and by the external dimension of the USA, but also by the capitalism development phase at the end of the XX century. Only the third industrial revolution of micro-electronics, where the world counter-power, the Soviet Union, failed because of lack of capitals, made possible a world power in the full meaning of the term, i.e., with the possibility of global direct intervention. It is true that the big military expeditions still need a wide and costly territorial logistics, but it is significantly facilitated by the existence of a technology of communications that covers all over the world.
As long as the old European powers have to be satisfied with heavy and scarcely controllable military expeditions, based on the classic industrialization, and that today seem antiquated (as war ships and tanks armies), it can be affirmed that the USA military machine in fact and until a certain extent is omnipresent and able of intervening globally - and this in the war level among regular armies. The big military expeditions as the two wars for the world order that followed the fall of the state capitalism (against the remnants of Yugoslavia and against Iraq) are not only facilitated but also complemented with an until then nonexistent capacity of attack. Instead of big terrestrial or naval operations (otherwise completely superfluous) very flexible air attacks can be provoked and directed by means of the microelectronics.
It is true that, to a certain extent, the Nazi Germany was already largely conquered, due to the impressive aerial superiority of the allies from 1944 and to the rain of bombardments (destruction of the war industries and of the supplying routes, etc.), although that was not the only factor that decided the war. Besides, the squadrons had to stay perforce in the bases radius. If until around the middle of the XX century the crossing of the Atlantic was still an adventure, today the North American air force can reach from its territory any place of the world in a record time. On the other hand, the observation by satellite directed by means of the microelectronics facilitates the permanent control from the space, as it had never been possible before, of all movements and operations in the surface of the earth in the whole globe, with a very precise capacity of resolution. In connection with the continental dimension of its territory and with the power of its capitals, as well as with the advance of its technology of communications, the high tech armament system of the USA, without competition and in permanent development, created a new qualitative type of global hegemony in the world of the capitalist states.
Such a superiority leads easily to make the control capacity of the American superpower absolute and to elevate to "myth of electronic armament" the expansion of the intervention possibilities based on the micro-electronics, although the capacity of direct intervention in the global environment is not the same that the absolute control (what would be a logical and practical impossibility). Above all, and we should insist in this point, the political-military hegemony of the United States is only exercised in the world of the national capitalists States and of the respective industrial "fordist" armies, that is to say, in the international capitalists relationships "macro" level. In this perspective, the high tech army of the USA has an unreachable superiority and can win any big or small war against any army of one or several national States of the world.
The last world power in the historical system limits.
The hegemony of the only surviving superpower, the USA, is crushing in comparison with the other, so-called, powers of the capitalist world, either the European Union (UE), Japan, Russia in decadence and also militarily degraded, or the regional pseudo-powers, from Iran to India, passing through Pakistan or even China, supposedly a colossus whose gigantic population mass is in inverse connection with its economic and political-military power. One of the fundamental tendencies of the evolution of the world capitalism is revealed this way, where the inequalities, the disparities and unrecoverable delays in the reproduction capacity of the capital grow as much bigger as less opposition the capital connection faces, becoming world connections irreversibly direct and, in many aspects, the national frontiers beginning to disappear.
Ironically, the USA has become the unbeatable number one power world just when the capitalist mode of production began to drain. While the old European powers played their national successes in specific times of the ascension of the capitalist system to the global system, that is to say, in the frame of the bourgeois history of the modernization, the USA hegemony arose just in the limits of the capitalism as social form of reproduction. In this sense, the USA is not only the unique existent power at the end of the XX century, but also the last world power. It is as in the fairy tales: in the moment when the dream is accomplished it turns into nightmare and lie, because it reveals the fragility and even the absurdity of its presuppositions.
The process of the continuous USA ascension to become a unique and last world superpower was simultaneously also the development process of the crisis of the modern system producer of goods. If the second industrial revolution, that so-called "Fordism" (automotion, economic miracle), in the post-war, could still provoke a sort of world "development plan", on the other hand the third industrial revolution, that of the micro-electronics, exacerbated in such a way the fall of the development in the global environment that whole regions began to be excluded of the capitalist reproduction capacity.
Simultaneously, since the eighties the process of socio-economic crisis began to devour the centres of the capital. The evaporation of the "work substance" of the capitalism can now only be masked by the anticipation of monetary yields and future benefits that in fact will never be verified, that is to say, through a process that degenerates in the global indebtedness of the whole of the economic subjects (States, companies, private citizens) and by the speculative bubbles in the market, historically without precedents. The always growing mass recycling of the "fictitious capital" (Marx) in the economic circuit transformed the separation between financial markets and real economy in the fundamental condition of the global appraisement of the capital. The world capital reached a simulation degree that polarized as never before the world society: in one of the poles the mass poverty and the misery repeats, and the processes of economic collapse link together at short intervals; in the other pole flourishes a monetary wealth such as astronomical as without substance whose fragility demonstrates the precarious character that assumed the mode of capitalist production as such.
The USA monocentric hegemony is in the centre of this mature contradiction of the world capital. The political-military supremacy of the last superpower cannot truly be annulled (in this sense it is "absolute") but, simultaneously, the politics as such, even in its form of world hegemonic politics, suffers a lost of importance in connection with the world economic processes that critically became autonomous in a qualitatively new way. In this aspect it is highlighted, not in the last place, the fact that the political personnel, in the USA as everywhere around the world, is of third level, compared with the elites of the economic functions. The last world power is confronted to a crisis as much internal as external that embraces the whole world and that for its own nature cannot be contained with a kind of political-military force.
It becomes evident from many points of view that the contradictions between the character of USA monocentric power and the character of the third industrial revolution crisis, later or earlier, will necessarily lead to the firetrial, as long as the crisis internally destroys the dominant production mode.
The political powers are only able to exist and to develop on the basis of a national state fundament, even when it comes to States that, due to the origin of their citizens, are big multiethnic States of a continental dimension. This character of national State that even the last superpower presents is however in contradiction with the transnational metamorphosis of the capital due to the globalisation process. At the same time that the structural crisis creates mass unemployment and/or big sectors of low wages, dismantles the social State, etc., the purchase capacity vanishes in the national internal markets and the capital is forced to expand in a managerial way in the world market, with an unheard-of dynamics, to optimise the costs fall and, on the other hand, to attract toward itself the purchase capacity, in any part of the world where it still exists.
This capital transnationalization and the simultaneous escape, resolved furthermore at a transnational level, for the new feigned financial capitalism, undermines the economic fundaments of the national State; and this is valid for the last superpower, the USA. The North American capital also submits itself to the transnational metamorphosis, thus turning unwittingly obsolete the world power State.
On the other hand, the USA, as national limited State, and in spite of its superpower statute, cannot act directly as world State in situation of regulating the world system -that transforms itself in transnational - of the capitalist crisis economy, as until now the national States regulated its national economies. Thus, the last world power is dragged by the imperatives and ways of evolution of a world crisis process that for a long time has been no longer controllable by political means, and against which its invincible high tech army can only react externally and, in last analysis, in an inadequate way.
It is demonstrated by the condition where its own internal economy is, under the direction of the State, that the USA is only the dominant power of a dead-end world system, in itself sick and poisoned. Inside the USA the monetary wealth is polarized to the maximum, in the context of the western world, and its economic gleam is pure trash. Because the USA, contrarily to the position of comfortable departure and without competition that it had at the end of the Second World War, is nowadays the country of the world with the biggest internal and external indebtedness. Its absolute superiority only concentrates on its military might.
It could be argued that the flow of capital-money coming from all over the world, originated by the process of the USA fantastic indebtedness, is in fact the tribute that the capitalist world has to pay to its dominant power. However it is not a traditional type tribute, as those that the "people" or defeated or conquered "nations" were subject to, but a flow of private transnational capital-money that, as money-credit, places the North American economy before a dangerous requirement, because it can be moved away in any moment (or "evaporate" due to a financial crash) and in this way knock down all the might of the world power.
This danger includes, and not in the last place, the proper military high tech apparatus that permanently devours astronomical amounts and for that reason it depends on the sap of the financial transnational capital. It is a deviated way of financing that should settle an effective and autonomous national economic might that the USA lost a long time ago. The military might in its, to a certain extent, natural form doesn't have by itself capacity to survive, because also it, as everything in the capitalist world, has to cross through the "eye of the needle" of the financiability.
This is not only applied to the benefits of the social State or the medical cares, but also to the cruise missiles, to the bombing Stealth and to the aircraft carriers. From a purely economic point of view, the social State and the military apparatus don't distinguish from each other, in both cases it is necessary an external financing, from the currency that the State has to absorb. If there is what and whom to kneel with missiles and long-range bombardiers, certainly the international financial markets are not part of that number. If the financial bubble explodes, the USA military World sovereignty will vanish immediately into air.
The arrogant colossus replete of military muscle that is the last world power has feet of clay and not because another colossus could come to demolish it, but only because the capitalist production mode, that was in the basis of all the modern world powers, begins to reach its absolute limit. The USA cannot be demolished by any other world rival power, but rather it will be demolished by its internal logic, that is to say, by the logic of the capitalist money. The capacity of global control of the last world power will disappear together with the pseudo-civilization of the money.
It is for that reason that it can no longer be world wars like those of the first half of the XX century, arisen from the existence of several powers of the same size in order to dispute the hegemony inside the polycentric system frame. The bipolar structure of the cold war already blocked the possibility of this conflict by the atomic "balance of terror". The Soviet Union could not be defeated in a world war, but it was defeated by the economic competition and militarily degraded.
The monocentric hegemony of the last world power has no longer any competitors in this level, and it exists no potential for a world war among big powers of equal value. But the concurrence of transnational crisis doesn't allow the existence of "a capitalist world peace" (what would be a contradiction in the terms), but on the contrary it provokes, as its continuation by other means, new forms of armed conflicts that are no longer located in the level of the conflicts among the big powers neither can be analysed with its respective categories. In this new constellation of the world crisis it is carried out a deep qualitative metamorphosis of the imperial action that already had its beginning in the bipolar structure of the superpowers of the post-war history.
From the territorial national imperialism to the "global ideal imperialism "
At the beginning of the XXI century, the USA is not only the last world power and, on the other hand, "the first really" mondial, but rather assumed a different statute of that of all the previous imperial powers. The monocentric character of this world power, that in the historical limit of the capitalist production mode and that to a certain extent must manage all the global contradictions, aims towards a transformation of the imperialism, where this no longer corresponds to its previous definition, but rather moved to another contradiction level.
In its topmost might, the USA position should even appear -from the point of view of the valid understanding until around the middle of the XX century- as a "post imperialism". The violence, the brutality and the cynicism of the interventions and of its legitimation won't become certainly smaller, but the content became qualitatively detached of the original concept of modern "empire". To the three stadiums of evolution of the political-military hegemony in the modern world, the polycentric, the bipolar and the monocentric, corresponds a continuous process of alteration of the imperialism character that reflects the step from the phase of ascension and implementation of the capitalist world system to the phase of maturity of its crisis.
At the time of the old polycentric imperialism of the European industrial powers (approximately between 1870 and 1945) it was mainly about the territorial distribution of the world into national colonies and "influence areas". This classic European national-imperialism was rooted in the territorial principle of the bourgeois national state, just as it was constituted in opposition to the dynastic or personal principle of the feudal agrarian society. Based on the industrialization, the territorial expansion of the national capitalists States, already initiated at the beginning of the Modern Age, continues on a large scale; its purpose was the amplification of the territorial control. It was not still a world market without borders what was on the basis of this evolution, neither a transnational globalisation of the capital, but in fact the opposite, the formation of the accumulation process, increasingly based on the state economy and nationally centred. The expansion of the economic movement assumed for that reason the form of an effort by the simple constitution of partial and relative "world economies" (in the plurality of the nations), controlled by the national "big empires".
Just in this sense, the debate on external and social politics of all the big European capitalist powers followed the motto of a general Friedrich von Bernhardi sentence, in the period of Kaiser William II: "world power or death" (mentioned by Gollwitzer 1982/2, 25). As basis for a strategic orientation, the so-called Geopolitical was developed in Germany, mainly with Karl Haushofer (1869-1946) who in the national-socialist "Reich" rose to boss of creators of geo-strategic watchwords. The title of his work in three volumes Power and Earth already points to the territorial character of the imperial expansion tendency active then. In consonance with that it is read in another Haushofers exemplary text: "the big powers are 'expansionist States'... therefore we see them all arise with big or small annexes of influence areas belonging to the great power concept as the tail to the comets..." (quoted by Gollwitzer, Ibid., 562).
One of the central concepts of this territorial expansion was that of "great territory", that is to say, a partial world empire, dominated in a national-imperial way, on the basis of a capitalist economy of coherent "great territory" that could no longer be more than the continuation of a great national economy towards the colonies, dependent areas and simply annexed territories. The sinister jurist and social reactionary theorist, Carl Schmitt, who placed himself a long time ago under the service of the Nazis, apropos elaborated, in 1939 (with the 4th edition in 1941), the essay of juridical theory titled The international juridical statute of the great territory and the prohibition of foreign powers intervention in its ambit. Contribution for the empire concept in the international right (quoted by Gollwitzer, Ibid. p. 562).
This geopolitical concept of great territory, frequently transformed permanently in "vital space", also belonged, as it is known, to the Hitler favourite vocabulary: People without space was the title of the opportune best-seller popular colonialist ballad writer, Hans Grimm (1926). After that the mondial trade among the big powers in the period between the two wars had deeply fallen, efforts arose to get a national autarchy overseas, that already from the beginning drove to the classic imperialism. The objective of this autarchy politics, as the economist Wilhelm Gerloff declared at the beginning of the thirties in a congress against the liberal economy, was "the creation of a self-sufficient economic space from the production and consumption point of view, owning so much space and so many wealth that it can provide for all the economic and cultural necessities of its members..." (Gerloff 1932, 13).
From the Nazi politico-economic strategy and of their political maneuvers it is deduced that this position was not simply motivated by ideological rivalries. Werner Daitz, one of the high economic leaders of the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP), formulated the autarchical tendency of the national-imperialism expressly against "the Jewish-materialistic thought of the liberal economists" whose "thought of money contrary to the people" drove, to its detriment, the German economy towards the "world economy", that is to say, towards "the free trade and the international work division", during the world war and in the world economic crisis. Daitz placed the Nazis autarchical program of an autonomous national empire against that economic liberal orientation for the world market: "the discovery of new free spaces and of their population (colonization)... can only mean a strengthening of the growth and the vital force of the native economy if it does not stay outside of its discipline and its power... each people should discipline its economic leadership so that the last reserves in foods and source material would always be inside its walls" (Daitz 1938 I, 64 and fwd.).
It is in this autarchical sense that he also defines the "great European economic space" shaped by the Nazi Reich under German control: "the continental Europe can only affirm itself among the other world parts as economic and cultural unit if required can live off the resources of its people and of its territory. For that reason, the continental Europe has to be a political unity from Gibraltar to the Urals and from the North Cape to the Cyprus island. Only in this space all the capacities in agricultural products and mineral wealth exist allowing its people, by means of cooperation and with the help of an advanced technology, to live off their own resources" (Daitz 1938 II, 45 and fwd.).
It was not at all a distant objective or a dream of the Nazi strategists, but rather, in the moment of Daitz argumentation, it was already a specific and effective economic and external politics that, basically, was approved and supported by the leadership of the German monopolies in its own interest, as the historiography about this period clarifies: "the Hitler decision of reaching a 100% autarchy in four years without caring about expenses in the fuels sectors, the iron production and the synthetic caoutchouc (buna), was well accepted by the main economic leaders, on one hand by interest in the benefits and, on the other, due to the difficulties in the short run of reorganizing the world market. The iron, coal and steel industry, accustomed to the state protectionism from 1879, wished for lengthening its continental hegemony, because in the world level it was not competitive, and it had as political ambition, like Pangermans in the First World War, the creation of a great economic space dominated by the Germans in the Europe centre" (Martin 1989, 203).
Therefore the politics of the Nazi autarchy only continued the national-imperialistic tendency already initiated before the First World War. But the German "Reich" didn't follow this logic only due to the especially nationalist evolution carried out since the imperial time. An autarchical thought turned toward the creation of "economies of great territory" of national-imperial type, is found as much in the period previous to the war as in the period between wars in all the countries of the capitalist centre, although in the Anglo-Saxon field it is not surely as accented as in the Nazi regime.
In his famous essay The imperialism, superior phase of the Capitalism (1917), Lenin qualified the national-imperialistic effort, in accordance with the real situation and the dominant imperial speech, essentially as politics of territorial annexation: "we see now that a gigantic race for the colonial conquest begins and that the fight for the territorial division of the world sharpens in a high degree... The race of all the capitalist states for the colonies at the end of the XIX century, mainly since the eighties, constitutes a fact universally well-known of the diplomacy and foreign politics history... In fact, the characteristic for the imperialism consists not only on the tendency to the annexation of the agrarian regions, but also of the most industrial (German appetites regarding to Belgium, those of the French as for the Lorena), because, in the first place, the definitive allotment of the Earth obliges, when proceeding to a new allotment, to grasp all kinds of territories; in second place, it is substantial for the imperialism the competition of several big powers in the aspiration to the hegemony, this is, to take possession of territories not mainly for itself, as for the opponent's weakening and the breakage of its hegemony..." (Lenin, 1979/71, 82 and fwd., 97).
Although the Lenin analysis starts from a limited and restricted concept of capital because of the Marxist vision of the labour movement that implies a false opposition between the competitive capitalism and the capitalism called of monopoly, its characterization of the imperialism as national polycentric politics of annexation corresponds amply to the real forms of the world capitalist development at that time. This period, finished in 1945, was not however the "last and higher phase of the capitalism" that Lenin, conditioned by his time, didn't see under the aspect of a categorial crisis of the economic forms, but mainly as the collapse of the operative constellation up to that time of the world capitalism.
While the USA was still developed covered by the European polycentric powers, fighting for the world hegemony, that is to say, in the XIX and at the beginning of the XX century, it continued, in any event, the logic of a national imperial power in expansion. Already in 1823 the prominent North American president, James Monroe, formulated the doctrine that bears his name, according to which the USA would not tolerate any European intervention in North American territory. The Monroe doctrine that had as backdrop the struggle for the independence of Latin America against Spain and that it led to the USA to self proclaim "protective power" of the continent south part, thus establishing a precedent: not by chance Carl Schmitt referred to it in his essay The juridical statute of great territory and the prohibition of intervention. Neither was the imperial national politics of direct annexation alien to the USA: in 1848, after the war where Mexico was defeated, it took Texas, New Mexico and California, together with the gold deposits there located; in 1898, as consequence of the war against Spain, it annexed the Philippines that only in 1946 (after the Japanese occupation in the Second World War) will reach the state independence.
Already in the period of the "economic miracle" and of the cold war, when the USA ascended to the only directing power of the western capitalism, the situation was radically upset. Sheltered by the Pax America, the statute of world power, together with the development of the world capital, made a decisive metamorphosis, starting from which the old expansionary politics of the national empires began to be obsolete. As first world power, in a literal sense, the USA could no longer be a "power of territorial expansion", and that meant for the European national States, now dependent, to descend a degree more in the asset as depressed powers. This fundamental metamorphosis was determined mainly by two moments, political-military one, economic the other.
On one hand, the cold war blocked with the world counter-power of the "delayed modernization" was no longer, from the beginning, driven to the style of a territorial control over a certain "world empire", based on the national economy, but only, above all, as a long term orientation strategy in a directly global scale. As "world police" with the self assigned mission of annulling the counter-empire of the state capitalism and "evil reign" (Reagan), the American imperialism had to become a "global ideal imperialism ", that is to say, to operate in the "meta-level", to go beyond the simple national expansion.
In this sense, it was not a new constellation inside the old logic of the conflicts, but of the transitory character of the proper conflict. The same _expression "mondial police", initially used in a critical sense, it refers unwittingly to the fact of being an option for a monopoly of global control militarily supported, instead of the external growth, as extension of its own territory.
At this level, it was no longer decisive a vision guided toward a "great imperial territory" and their corresponding "national economy of great territory", but the global guarantee of the capitalist production mode in itself. The USA became this way a pure "protector power" of the capital, only being accepted in its private and competitive western form and being considered as main agitator enemy the variants of the state capitalism of the East and South.
The pressure was towards destroying the iron curtain and "opening" the whole world to the movement of the private capital (whatever its nationality was), i.e., producing an unitary world capitalist system. In this sense, the USA founded the NATO in 1949 whose organizational scope served to involve directly the European national States -meanwhile transformed in second or third degree powers- in the strategic operations of the USA as "protector power" of the world capitalism and to use them as "aircraft carrier" of the North American army.
But as this statute of world power implied an "imperialist global ideal", and this could no longer be identified with an imperialistic national expansionary interest, the contradiction between the USA, as national State, and the USA as a new type of world power, became clearly visible by increasing damages resultant of this disagreement. It is true that the USA habitually always innocently used until today the concept of "national interest" to designate its activity of "world police" and actually availed itself of its world power position, of the role of the dollar as world currency, etc., also of course in its own interest, whenever it was possible. In spite of this, the damages suffered during the cold war by the world power -that had reached the rank of absolute economic superpower at the end of the Second World War-, as the reduction of its national quota in the world market, the relative fall of the industrial productivity and, finally, the huge internal and external indebtedness, are largely owed to the weight of the political-military "consumption" as "world power", unproductive from the capitalist point of view.
This situation has been repeatedly described and target of demand, lately by Paul Kennedy who describes analogies with the first powers of the modernization history from the XVI century (Kennedy, 1991/1987). The role of "world police" or of "global ideal imperialist" is still controverted in the debate on the USA politics so much external as internal: only that it was the development of the capitalism that condemned the USA to assume that role.
On the other hand, the old politics of imperialistic national territorial annexation became obsolete, not only by virtue of the world external politics constellation during the cold war, with its bipolar structure, but also due to the economic internal process of the capitalist production mode - in which the political unification of the private capital at mondial level constitutes the fundamental frame created in a great measure by the USA superpower. Because only sheltered by the pax americana, the new structural characteristic of the capital became real to a large degree, as export of capital, pointed out by Lenin and Rudolf Hilferding.
Lenin envisaged the export of capital (in opposition to the simple export of goods) still in the context of the old constellation of the expansionary powers centred in the national economy. But in that development level, the export of capital could not still assume any prominent role. Truly, until 1913, the mondial trade was developed continually under the domain of the national economies, but the foreign investments (mainly in fixed capital) remained almost totally limited to the colonies or influence areas, therefore to the respective national imperial space. Another thing could not have been possible in the polycentric struggle of the big European powers for the capitalist hegemony.
On the contrary, in the frame of the pax americana after the Second World War, not only the world system was subsumed to the bipolar concept of the "conflicts system" between private capitalism and capitalism of State, but at the same time, the western hemisphere was already directed monocentrically. Under the political baton of this monocentrism it was possible to create the conditions for a quick growth of the capital export: mainly, the possibility to export capital in an unprecedented measure in the ambit of the same developed industrial capitalist countries, i.e., of opening big production companies in old "hostile countries". In this aspect, the pax Americana implied that the big multinational companies arisen in this context began gradually to become autonomous of the frame of the national economy. Thus the first contours of the crisis structure of a new contradiction between the capital, on one hand, and the national economy and its respective national State on another, became visible.
From the national pacifism "of the good men" to the global intervening militarism
In the process of the managerial globalisation, the ideology of the American imperialism, turned into "global ideal imperialist", suffered a special metamorphosis that transformed it, in consonance with the statute of the USA, in global ideology of the western private capitalism. In the USA it always existed, against the old imperial politics of annexation, an opposition "of the good men" that fed on the democratic illusions about the character of the capitalism and it considered itself of the bourgeois ideal (a Kantian "perpetual peace" among trading nations) against the reality of the capitalism of that time (national-imperialistic predatory wars). This originally anti-imperialistic pacifism was revealed progressively in the post-war period as a new legitimation of the renovated "mondial police" role of the USA.
If in the previous constellation this ideology was essentially "isolationist", i.e., directed against the USA external interventions, the new constellation, with the USA as unique western superpower, could all of a sudden operate as legitimation of interventions. Because now, in the first place, it is no longer about the expansion of a "great territory" defined by the North American national imperialism, but of the global maintenance and the expansion of the "principle" of the private capital and of the economic liberalism and of its frame of democratic legitimation. In this sense the bourgeois ideal could be called to give covering to the capitalist reality, still unsatisfactory, because it was no longer about evident national interests of prey, but about the supposed maintenance and installation of the "democratic world peace" against the so-called "enemies of the non democratic peace", defined then, in the bipolar structure of the superpowers, as totalitarian "evil Kingdom" of the East and its vassals.
Therefore the new role of world power of the USA could be assumed with an almost religious determination: the western superpower transforms itself in global propagandist and even in missionary of the production mode and of the way of competitive capitalist life, including its cultural components ("American way of life"). In this sense, the President Truman, later in 1947, put apart the Monroe doctrine, limited to the imperialistic national perspective, and with the "Truman doctrine ", promised the aid of the USA to the "free people menaced in their freedom", what implied the interventionism in a meta-plane of the world system, beyond the simple expansionary national interest.
Truman didn't work in an ideologically empty space. Only he continued with the spirit of the ideology of the "community of the people", rooted in the old American idealism originally anti-intervening, just as it had been formulated by the North American President Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) in his program of fourteen points of 1918, anticipation of the later American doctrinal leadership.
In this idealistic construction, corresponding to the harmonious vision of the traditional democratic middle classes of the world, the brutal competition and the struggle for the survival in the world market were solemnly redefined as peaceful collaboration among States spirited with good will and legitimated by the "popular sovereignty"; a more and more falsifying interpretation of the capitalism world reality that sponsored both the creation of the called Nations Society (1920), suggested by Wilson, and to the end of the Second World War its renovation as Organization of the United Nations (UN).
The Soviet Union, as world counter-power of the "recuperating modernization" had to allow to be inscribed in a United Nations unquestionably dominated by the western countries under the USA leadership; this was only, in the political level, the logical consequence of the economic fact that the State capitalism, due to its own nature as a system producer of goods, participated in the world market and had to adapt to its criteria. With the collapse of the world counter-power from 1989 and the ascent of the USA to last world power, its role of "global ideal imperialist" of a world capitalist system, from now on unified, was upset once again.
Although all the denials, all the idealizations and false hopes, the progressive world crisis and the globalisation of the capital linked to it constitute the backdrop that explains the reason why the pax americana, now really universal, doesn't give rise to a pacified world. Even earlier than it became superfluous for the universal capitalist domination, the importance of the USA as world police, on the contrary, increased as its two wars of the nineties for the world order demonstrate. It is not about fighting just now a supposed counter-power clearly defined, but to be able to maintain, one way or another, the unified capitalist system, although it cannot by now be reproduced in the global ambit, for the mankind's great majority. In other words: the proper fight of the "world policeman" and of its European assistant sheriffs against the crisis of the capitalist categories has unavoidably to assume the character of a battle against spectra or, almost to the style of Don Quixote, against windmills.
In this globalised affray against the demons of the world capitalist crisis, the paradigm of the "States of territorial expansion" vanishes, more than in the cold war time. This metamorphosis under way also has a political-military and an economic moment. In a much stronger way that in the case of the strangulation of the state capitalism system, the "geopolitics" centred in any national state became irrelevant and self-defeating in the fight without hope for a "pacification" of the process of capitalism world crisis. The world was supranationally unified by the capital, but below the fine layer of varnish of the common world system the crisis is spread, crisis that leads, here today and there tomorrow, to catastrophic eruptions. So much politically as militarily it is already only possible a strategy of "flexible intervention" in the world ambit, by an itinerant diplomacy of crisis, of "mobil forces of intervention" and of air attacks.
Simultaneously to this it corresponds the metamorphosis of the capital, consequent with the crisis economy, in a direct globalisation of the managerial economy, beyond the mere capital export. Where the great majority of the "arms" becomes superfluous from the capitalist point of view, the "appropriation" of territories and of their people it no longer constitutes, not even dreaming, an option for the accumulation; the territorial annexations definitively lost the sense in the capitalist logic and only could be a weight, instead of a lucre. At the same time that the reproduction of the capital in terms of managerial economy enters in conflict with the national states, the transnational financial and real capital, expanded by the whole globe (naturally with extraordinarily diverse densities), it no longer allows the formulation of a strategy of capitalist expansion centred nationally.
In consonance with this new world situation, the western intervening ideology of "freedom and democracy" (originally rooted in the pacifism of the USA "good men") developed during the cold war, it was transmuted overnight in the paradoxical "war of maintenance of peace" of the NATO under the USA leadership. It is thus as the current liberal hegemonical speech interprets the reactions of the West to the global crisis caused by its own economic "objective" terrorism, with the phraseological repertoire of the same charlatanic philosophy that already dominated the precedent period.
In Europe, in few years, the idealistic pacifism "of the good men" of the movements for peace was consequently substituted by a militarism favourable to the global interventionism. Thus, the "good people" of the European left only repeat that change and metamorphosis kept by its North American cousins, developed since the President Wilsons time. The ideological intern contradiction of the capitalism between national-imperial politicians with interventionist interest and anti-interventionist idealistic ones crumbles definitively with the world crisis: the inexorable sustentation of the system, the affirmation of the capitalism at any price and the hackneyed democratic-idealistic sentences are identical in "world police's doctrine", against the fruits apparently generated in the abysses of the history.
The punitive expeditions led by West against the capitalist periphery submerged in the chaos as of the 1989 historical jump are presented, in accordance with that spirit, as legitimate actions of the "international community", of the "democratic community of the people", etc. The mondial consensus, in a fraudulent way, omits systematically that the wonderful world economy of market is the lap that, jointly with the crisis and the collapse of the socio-economic reproduction, shelters that "militarism" against which that friendly dominant humanity, impregnated of idealism and with extensive bombings, imposes the economy of world market. The falsehood of this legitimation is certainly revealed by the fact of being accompanied by a hysterical crusade spirit, over which the democratic-capitalist media screams to the unison, as if they all were under the orders of an almighty censor.
The NATO as supranational extension of the "global ideal imperialist"
The NATO constitutes the politico-military framing of the pax americana and of the globalisation of the capital crisis that begins in this period. In this reference field, it has to distinguish itself, of course in a fundamental way, of the constellations of the previous imperial alliances. It could not be a relationship only external between a hegemonic power and the respective vassals in the traditional imperial sense, neither of an alliance among national imperialistic powers that are more or less at the same level. Before, the USA contradictory double statute, as state-nation or national economy on one hand and as "global ideal capitalist" on the other, required a similar metamorphosis of the European states of the capitalist centre that had become secondary, provided with an equally contradictory character: on one hand, just as the USA, they could not stop to be state-nations; on the other, they still had to be integrated in the new structure of a pretence of control to a global level, without being able to become purely and simply an integral part of the USA.
In this contradictory way the NATO was transformed, beyond the merely military function, in the political instance common to all West, with the purpose of integrating the European states of the capitalist centre in the hegemonic system of new "global ideal capitalist" and to frame them in this system, namely to also make that "powers" of only second order of the old type turn themselves into integral parts of an "global ideal imperialism ". The alternative consists no more on choosing between an independent condition as old national imperialistic power and a condition of vassal in front of the USA superpower, but between being of more or less weight in the breast of the NATO, as political and legitimating extension of the USA world hegemony of new type.
In this way, on one hand the NATO in fact shows to be a supranational structure with pretence on global capitalist control, in front of a world assailed by an economic-industrial globalisation and simultaneous crisis disintegration. On the other hand, the NATO cannot even be imagined without the apparatus of administration of the USA high technology violence that continue centred in, and controlled by a state-nation, and whose lack of parallel maintains standing the USA hegemony in the pale of the integral work of art of the world imperialism. In a barbarian order, on the last impulse who commands is always who has been able to brandish the best sword. In the ambit of the capitalist criteria and of the capitalist technology, Europe will never more be able to have the best sword.
The European bourgeois reasoning judges this matter in a lapidary and sober way; for instance, in the economic newspaper "Handelsblatt": "An European identity in security terms is desirable in principle, but it is not realizable at the moment. The armament programs that would be necessary for this cannot be financed... The recent intervention in Kosovo revealed, once again, up to what extent the Europeans are inferior to the USA when they try to project military power beyond their own national frontiers. Almost 80% of all the combat missions and 90% of the bombs and missiles used were on USAs own responsibility. Even in front of their own doors the Europeans won't be able to provide with anymore than a marginal contribution to defeat a military power of third order... While the USA continues being a partner of reliable security, no European armament politics that would harm the reached consolidation should be continued" (Wolf 1999).
Indeed, the European states of the capitalist centre don't have capacity of military intervention in a large scale, neither each by itself, nor all together. For this military means purely and simply are lacking, i.e. fleets of strategic bombardiers, aircraft carriers and arsenals of missiles; and that is not verified only in quantitative terms, but also referring to the technological level. If today Germany, for instance, is approximately about this matter at the level of a guard of global town, Great-Britain and France, in spite of their experiences with post-colonial wars and of the military pretences since then up to now, are not in a better situation. In the Malvinas absurd war, the Britons were scarcely able to impose themselves to the Argentinean marine; and the different French mini-interventions in Africa do not deserve the epithet of military. The French press laughed at the disaster of the "Charles de Gaulle" aircraft carrier that suffered damage when it had hardly got into service, having to be towed very expensively by the "Clemenceau", its already retired predecessor.
If we keep in mind that in the breast of the UE the 60 or 70 percent of all the means spent in the development and military provisioning are responsibility of Great-Britain and France, it is clear the strait European margin for an armament and interventionist program. It is not strange that the planned military force of the UE is labelled a priori as "paper troop".
A fundamental alteration of the relationship of military forces -in case of being sought - is in fact utopian, even under the financial point of view. It would be the economic ruin if the UE wanted, in a tour de force in terms of armament politics (for which, besides, it would never be able to be sufficiently unified), to equal the USA military might. In no place it is glimpsed any kind of factor that demonstrates how it could be get the inversion of the sense of the global flows of capitals that could be necessary for it; if in spite of everything it was gotten, the world economy could be destabilized even more, and the already fragile building of the global financial capitalism would be driven to the ruin.
Neither the political predominant opinion makers hope of the possibility that the relation of current forces could be still altered one day: "No sign of a fundamental alteration of the relative weights exists... The European economic basis able to challenge eventually the USA and its conceptions of world order... has not extended but rather diminished... In the military area, the transatlantic difference stands out even with more clarity. Thus, the European states of the NATO spent in the military provision, in the last five years, only approximately half of what was spent by the USA in the same period. In the investigation and development category, the pit expanded even more" (Wolf 2001). But these considerations are at any rate merely hypothetical, since, to go beyond the entire thing, it still doesnt exist an economic and "materialist" reason for annexation strategies and territorial "influence" in the ambit of a great conflict among capitalists.
This mean that some European tentatives exist that stand out in front of the last world power, the USA, although, in case of doubt, they come more from France than from Germany. But these attitudes are disputes of competitions and wars of chapels in the pale of the established order of the "global ideal imperialism ", subject to a USA hegemony that is above any doubt, not being the affirmation of an autonomous imperial pretence. Also more and more the economic and above all the commercial contradictions between the UE and the USA arise again, but without ever questioning seriously the global common roof of the pax Americana.
John C. Kornblum, the USA ambassador in Germany until 2001, by a single trait expresses as much the capitalist inevitability of the alliance incarnated in the NATO as its own problem: "The fear that the Europeans and the Americans should divide in mutually competitive fields lacks of any justification. The bonds that unite Europe with the United States are so strong that a rupture is unimaginable... What is so special in the actual situation? A new American government rarely assumed functions at a so volatile time. They were equally infrequent the times when the Europeans and the Americans felt a similar perplexity before this planetary bustle" (Kornblum 2001). The "volatile time" and the "planetary bustle", a so vacuous as slobbery formulation in conceptual terms, for the downfall based on its own internal contradictions of the modern system producer of goods, after the end of the cold war, makes still even more of the NATO the instance of the global capitalism whose reason forces to all internal conflicts and all the themes to pass to a second level.
This is also applied to the polemic points, as the new unjustified bombing of Iraq by the USA under the new leadership of the ultraconservative president Bush, the plans of Washington for a "national against missiles defence" (NMD) or, inversely, the project of a common European politics of security and defence (PECSD). In this context, every time that it is spoken of "brawls" in the relationship between the USA and the UE, this concept that designates a small difference, points out more toward the objective necessity of a global imperial hegemonic politics than toward a rupture of that cohesion.
All those speculations that similar mutual "disagreements" could constitute the beginning of a deep alteration in the capitalist world constellation lack of any foundation: "With these reflections guided by the daily politics, the sceptics don't duly appreciate... the fundamental meaning of the structural factors that act in middle-term and long-term and that work unequivocally in favour of the continuity of the transatlantic association. Although there are usually brawls, these won't lead to durable conflicts or a geopolitical rivalry" (Wolf 2001).
Although the disagreements, the so-called brawls, the tentatives of winning protagonism and the samples of an arbitrary power question the continuous existence of the state-nation form, irreplaceable for the capital relation, with its intrinsic logic and simultaneously for the contradictions inherent to the structure of the "global ideal imperialism ", anyway this assumed, irreversibly, the supranational shape of the NATO. This inevitability of the NATO as a force of global western intervention under the USA leadership also corresponds to the interests of the dominant capital that, in the frame of the crisis and the globalisation, finally also becomes directly transnational. Thus "the global integration of the markets gives more force to those that take out profit of the globalisation and for that reason are interested in the cooperation among states. This is mainly applied to the big transnational companies, as well as to the investors of financial capital" (Wolf 2001). If we translate the euphemistic formula of the "cooperation among states" by that of the "war of global imperial world order", we have thus designated the real backdrop of the interests of the today dominant capital. If the contradictions in the ambit of the world system should increase in a dramatic way, we have to count far more with unilateral actions of a USA government giving up to panic than with a European challenge to the USA.
The global imperial context and the economic context of the globalisation are also applied strictly to the proper armament industry that, such as all the other capitals, has integrated at full speed in transnational structures. The factories of warlike material, before endowed with a strictly national orientation and closely associated to the respective apparatus of national state and to its control and territorial expansion pretences, largely became "global players" endowed with a wide economic-industrial diversification with ramifications as much in the USA as in the UE (and partly in the Asian space). Thus in the armament sector just as in all the other areas it exists, crossed transatlantic participations, "strategic alliances", fusions and acquisitions, keeping in mind that the USA arms industry is clearly dominating the scene.
So, for example, based on economic reasons, all the economic needles were put in the sense of the great Spanish armament company Santa Bárbara Blindados (SBB); in the ambit of its privatisation, it was not controlled by an European armament company, but by the American armament giant General Dynamics that, by this acquisition, will also be able to obtain a participation in the Munich tanks factory Krauss-Maffei-Wegmann (KMW); SBB controls under license the tank Leopard of KMW. Inversely the great European company of aeronautical and spatial material EADS (the Airbus head office) wants to go to build military airplanes to the USA together with a USA partner (Lockheed Martin or Northrop) in order to be able to reach to the Pentagon lucrative orders. Meantime the EADS already collaborates with Boeing in the anti-missile defence. It is also decided to take the control of the German military nautical dockyards HDW by a majority participation of the USA financial investor, One Equity Partners (OEP), what is interpreted as a hidden acquisition of the North American armament giant, General Dynamics. HDW builds and sells submarines, since the autumn 2002, together with the North American armament company, Northrop-Grumman. Although reserves exist on the part of the UE Commission, according to a German armament lobbyist, sooner or later the whole European armament industry will depend on the USA provision market and will have to adapt to this situation by the establishment of transnational participations: "Without America nothing is possible" ([economic weekly] Wirtschaftswoche 40/2001).
Contrarily to all the "brawls" and attempts of obstruction of the national political classes, the transnationalization of the armament industry will continue among the western capitalist centres; projects already exist for a market of transnational electronic provision for the big armament and aeronautical companies.
At the end there is no longer any essential reason so that the armament companies limit to the national plane, or even to that of the UE; the debates and the reservations to this purpose are no longer of strategic character and, for that reason, they are no longer of first order, but they are developed in the ambit of secondary disputes of competitions. The NATO constitutes a force of global imperial intervention and a global capitalist conception of world order not only in what is said about the economic generals basis of the globalized capitalism of crisis, but also in the immediate terms of technology and armament economy.
The concept of "global ideal imperialist", elaborated by analogy to the Marx formulation, according to which the national state constitutes the "global ideal capitalist", evidently doesn't remit to a merely "immaterial" assumption of influence; it is rather a question of an apparatus replete of violence of high technology and of political intervention all over the world that tries to establish a framing for the capitalist action with universal validity and, in this sense, it has to adopt a pretence of equal universal control. However the mondialized "global ideal imperialist" is much more circumscribed to the political-military level than the "global ideal capitalist" was before in the pale of the state-nation: the global imperialism doesn't gather the capitals of its power area in a managing framing also economic, but rather inversely it has to obey the wild competence of the capitals that overfills any managing frame and on which already it can only react in a superficial way and without any capacity of autonomous politico-economic interference.
The NATO, as the USA, doesn't constitute a "world state" that could ask for an explanation of the old functions of the state-nation to a superior level, supranational. The NATO is no more than the (extended) "global ideal capitalist", i.e., a pure instance of violence and political pressure, and not the instance for a more embracing regulation. Being thus, the NATO cannot solve the contradiction of the capitalism of global crisis, being able to express it only in periodic samples of violence, in its own contradictory structure, as supranational organism under the hegemony of the state-nation of the "last world power".
At first sight this monocentric "global ideal imperialism" of the beginning of the XXI century could recall the almost forgotten concept of a so-called "ultra-imperialism", just as the old major-ideologist of the German social-democrats, Karl Kautsky believed it at the beginning of the XX century, in the ambit of the debate with Rosa Luxemburg and Lenin about the imperialism. But the analogy is very superficial. Kautsky wrote in 1914 in "Neue Zeit": An economic necessity to continue the armament career after the world war doesn't support itself, not even from the proper capitalist class point of view, but at maximum, from the point of view of some armament interests. Inversely the capitalist economy is the first one to be threatened in an extreme way by the contradictions among the respective states. Any capitalist slightly perceptive should address today the following vibrant words to its fellows: Capitalists of all the countries, unite!... As it is evident, if the current politics of the imperialism is indispensable to continue the capitalist production mode, the just enunciated factors would not be able to cause a durable impression on the ruling classes, not even leading their imperialistic tendencies into another bearing. However that is possible if the imperialism, the effort of each great capitalist state in the sense of expanding its own colonial empire in detriment of other empires of similar type, establishes only one of the different means of promoting the capitalism expansion... The furious competition among gigantic companies, enormous banks and multimillionaires created the idea of the cartel of the big financial powers that would gobble the small ones. In the same way of the world war of the big imperialistic powers it can also now result a union among the strongest that will finish their armament career. Therefore, from the purely economic point of view, it is not excluded that the capitalism would still know a new phase, the transfer from the policy of cartel to the foreign policy; a phase of ultra-imperialism against which evidently we would have to fight with the same energy that against the imperialism, but whose dangers would be of another nature than the armament career and the threat to the world peace" (Kautsky 1914, 920 fwd.).
It is evident that the Kautsky argumentation was far from the reality of his time (and it would continue in this way still during decades), because the period of the imperial national expansion had not been exhausted at this point yet. But if we look more closely, Kautsky is neither a good prophet of a still distant future. Although he had seen with quite success (in a similar way to Lenin, without hardly conceptual depth in the social capitalists ways in expansion) the abstract possibility of another global imperial constellation, this one, however, was for them not under the spectrum of a social mondial disintegration due to intrinsic limits of the capitalist production mode, but only as "other means of promoting the expansion of the capitalism". The Kautsky position was entirely determined by the social-democratic speech of the change from the XIX to the XX century that had put officially aside the crisis and collapse theory and he bet for a capacity of ulterior development of the capitalism, to be crowned by the labour movement as a peaceful and parliamentarian transition toward the state socialism.
Just as in Lenin, also in Kautsky the topic is not the crisis ("unthinkable" at this point) neither the criticism of the social ways that transcended the limits among the classes, but the "class will" only based sociologically and that manifested itself in a political way in the sense of the "exploitation", on one hand, and of the respective overcoming, on the other. Contrarily to Lenin, Kautsky doesn't develop this analysis abusively simplified in the field of the historical effective facts, i.e., of the real rivalry among national imperialistic expansible powers, but as a shamefully opportunist phantasmagoria. There is no doubt that it is necessary a mixture of illusionism and self-deceit to postulate, even amid the thunder of the canyons that announced the beginning of the industrial world war, a peaceful alliance of the global imperialism or of the ultra-imperialism for an "exploitation of the common world" after the mondial war, as if the reality of this last one would not even exist or had already become a thing of the past (an attitude until today typical of the reformist democratic reasoning on purpose of "dangerous" questions).
However it is just for that reason that the Kautsky "Nostradamus vision", of democratic shit-sentences of sofa, is much less applied to the today real NATO "global ideal imperialism". First of all what is into question it is no longer a phlegmatic "common exploitation" of regions of the world still not accessible to the capitalism, but the problem of a world crisis in continuous progression, that is precisely defined by the fact that the capitalism of the centre, having reached to this point by its own productivity and profitability standard, is becoming more and more "unable of exploding"; the world market is leaving behind it, in economic terms, growing areas of "burned ground" that already lost the capacity of being exploited by the capitalism.
In second place, the NATO also constitutes a little or nothing peaceful alliance of the global imperialism, in fact because it is fully involved in struggling with the political-military and barbarizant consequences of the crisis without possible solution. In this case, it still corresponds to the reality that eighty years after the Kautsky theses no longer exists any inter-imperial conflict similar to that of the First World War; the contradictory supranational character of the NATO is based on completely different developments of those that Kautsky had in mind and, in this way, it is visible that it is not about an era of capitalist peace that could be transformed by the parliamentary way, but about a terrible war of world order without any civilizing perspective. The analogy between the "ultra-imperialism" Kautsky construction and the NATO real "global ideal imperialism" is perfectly superficial and deprived of any truthfulness.
But what make us believe that in the XXI century we won't attend to a reissue of the previous fights of national imperialistic territorial influence for the world hegemony are not only the economic and political-military factors in the context of the pax americana and of the globalisation. Neither the cultural and ideological development give the minimum signs that the old powers of the world wars period will get shortly ready to begin the third round and that the NATO could have been only a transitory manifestation limited to the cold war period.
In a conflict constellation, it happens that the involved societies have to be formed and prepared not only in the political, economic and military levels, but also equally in the cultural and ideological ambit. It is enough to see with which enormous effort and historical reach were mounted and cultivated the images of the respective enemies, so much in the time of the world wars between 1870 and 1945 as in the bipolar constellation of the post-war between 1945 and 1989. The "perfidious Albion", France as "hereditary enemy" and, inversely, the German "Huns" etc. or later the totalitarian "empire of the evil" in the East, was not only object of a cultivation and of a propagandistic coloration, but equally artistic in the cultural level as much national as popular that was prolonged even in the details of the daily life. For such an aim all the media registrations were taken, from the academic discussions until the infantile book, from the conservation of the patrimony to the patriotic lyrical poetry. Nothing similar could be said today of a systematic construction of the enemy's new and mutual images inside the imperialistic field. Even the traditional European anti-Americanism is not only marginal, but rather has become "Americanised" itself.
This doesn't mean in any way that the cultural and ideological nationalist, anti-Semitic, racist patterns etc. would not return or that the appeal to them would not become more frequent in the processes of globalisation crisis. But, contrarily to the time of the world wars, these patterns don't fit in the context of a national imperialistic formation for the fight of mutual extermination among the big capitalist powers around "big geo-strategic spaces". The image of the enemy of the Soviet "empire of evil" had already been formed on a line of different basis; it no longer reflected the mutual competition among the national imperialistic states of the western centre of the industrial capitalism, but the competition of the centre as a whole with the historical delayed ones of the periphery and the respective "counter-system" that didn't fail to stay framed in the capitalist paradigm.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union and of the end of the cold war the old previous images of the enemy no longer return, but rather it is being built the enemy's new image, substantially more diffuse that is no longer determined in first line by some lingering competition, as imperial politics within the pale of capitalist production mode (it was only applied to its historical process of ascension), but, and in an immediate way, by the manifestations of disintegration that punctuate the capitalist world crisis: it comes to externalise and to personify ideologically these last ones, in order to maintain obnubilated the character of the manifestations of the crisis and to hide the respective causes.
(Chapter I of the Book THE WAR OF WORLD ORDER, Robert Kurz, January 2003)
German original: http://www.exit-online.org/
Translation into Portuguese: http://obeco-online.org/
Translation into Spanish: Contracorriente.
Translation into English: Contracorriente. Revised by Claudia Régissaert
Original alemão: http://www.exit-online.org/