Translated from Russian
All indications suggest that the international community is once again entering a period of increasing risk of war. It is no coincidence that Western political analysts are writing about it more often. In June 2011, a book by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky was released: “Towards A Third World War III Scenario”. Even among Russian analysts there are increased concerns about the fate of the world, for example, the article by Yuri Krupnov: “The general trend is clear: The West needs a major war.” After the shameful war of NATO against Libya, the U.S. and Israel are increasingly threatening to take action against the Iranian military. Many see in this the risk of bringing about another major war.
Is there good reason for such an alarming outlook? Let us not forget how in the past the world slipped into major world wars.
Are there any analogies which relate to the present? We now live in a new era of nuclear-armed missiles in which fighting a war using such weapons is no longer a rational option to achieve political goals simply because the attacking side risks receiving a crushing blow as a response.
However, is it reasonable today to rely on our statesmen to carry out their policy decisions rationally? The same old failings apply equally to them: stupidity, selfishness and egoism, wanting to outdo their opponents, to dominate and exploit others.
What was decisive in triggering the world wars of the 20th Century compared to today’s situation? In a four-volume book “Hitler’s strategy – recipe for disaster” I investigated the causes of this misfortune for mankind. In it I name 7 factors:
1) The actions of the expanding German empire – which freely admitted their intentions – was to obtain regional and then global domination and to gain control of the resources and markets of the world. In a meeting at his headquarters in 1940 Hitler said: “Today we are fighting for oil reserves, rubber, mineral resources, etc.” In 1941, two days before the attack on the Soviet Union, Hitler signed Directive No. 32 “Preparing for the period after the completion of Operation Barbarossa” in which he went over plans for defeating the USA and Britain and following that world domination.
2) The expansionist German Reich wanted to achieve military superiority by massive rearmament.
3) The goal of the German Reich was to upset the balance of power in the world arena by defeating small and medium-sized countries and thereby increasing its geopolitical space in its struggle for world domination. This involved the annexation of Austria and the taking of Sudetenland and then Czechoslovakia. The attack on Poland led them to the point of critical mass in the change of balance of power. Britain and France could not let that happen so they declared war on Germany. Thus, began the second World War.
4) Merging the countries into a coalition whose individual national interests and sovereignty were threatened by the expansionist state. In the scheme of international relations there is a principle known as defensive reaction. This states that a potential counterbalance of forces is created that acts against the state that adopts a policy of domination, violence or the desire to rule over other peoples and nations by imposing his values by force. In the first World War it was Entente, and in the second the anti-Hitler coalition that acted as a counterbalance.
5) Within the innermost circle of the power elite in an expansionist state a power structure comes into being that is concentrated into one single person. Fateful decisions over war and peace are made by one or only a few persons.
6) The expansionist state seeks to resist the economic and systemic crisis of capitalism. The solution is to go to war. In a meeting with the generals in 1939, Hitler said: Either we declare war, or Germany will be confronted with a deep economic crisis.
7) Propaganda is used to systematically implant the notion of an enemy in the minds of the population. The enemy are the peoples of the countries against which the attack is being prepared.
Both world wars started in Europe and then encroached onto other regions of the world. In particular, it should be noted that the expansionist state intending to gain power by declaring war, each time has made a fatal mistake in assessing its own forces, that is the moral, spiritual and material requirements to achieve the set goal. In this case Germany grossly violated the law formulated by Clausewitz which states that the political objectives should be strictly in accordance with material resources and international conditions. For that reason in two world wars the expansionist state of Germany suffered severe defeat, and the German people experienced two national catastrophes.
The same fatal error of setting foreign policy tasks that in no way were in accordance with the available resources was made by the Soviet authorities after the second World War. Stalin, who always decided alone over the fate of his country, believed that after the outstanding victory over fascism, he could easily install Soviet domination over Eastern and Central Europe. After he had brought the countries of this region under Soviet control he grossly violated the balance of power in Europe and caused a defensive reaction in the countries of Western Europe. He provoked the Cold War which hung like an intolerable burden over the Soviet Union, its economy and its population. It is one of the main reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union. And that’s not all. The country was condemned to a struggle with a coalition that had far greater resources. In addition, it also permitted the USA, as guarantor and defender and leading force in the West, to set up American domination over Western Europe – and, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, also over the eastern part of Europe.
Since the days of the Cold War with the world divided between the two superpowers – the USA and the Soviet Union, both of which were nuclear powers struggling for supremacy – there was a balance of nuclear fear. This kept both powers from taking undue risks which forced them to take measures to avoid a war. They also signed a series of agreements on the mutual limitation of nuclear weapons and restraint in their further development. However, this did not mean the end of the struggle between the superpowers. The US has shifted its focus on information and economic warfare and secret acts of sabotage (subversive activities). A pro-American lobby was setup in the Soviet Union. This lobby paid bribes and recruited representatives of political parties and the state apparatus to work for it. All this is the strategy – developed by Liddell Hart – of indirect measures to destroy the enemy and seize territory without using military forces. This strategy played a very important role in organizing the state putsch in December 1991. One of the main goals of American policy was to bring about the downfall of the Soviet Union and it was the establishment of capitalism in the post-Soviet sphere of influence that served as the best method of bringing down Russia in all spheres, but especially the economy.
At the time of the Soviet reforms in the 80’s new foundations were developed in Soviet foreign policy which permitted a series of agreements at the end of the Cold War and the establishment of a new peace accord in Europe to be agreed with the West. On 21.11.1990 the Paris Charter had been signed by all European countries, the USA and Canada. It declared that the era of confrontation was over. “We proclaim that in future our relations will be based on respect and cooperation.” It was proclaimed: “Europe free yourself from the legacy of the past. A new era of democracy, peace and unity approaches.” In the Charter magnificent goals and standards of international coexistence were declared to strengthen security and confidence among all countries, to encourage disarmament, and that political consultations be intensified in order to solve economic, social, ecological, cultural and humanitarian problems. Peace should emanate from Europe. Europe must be open to all countries and cooperate with all countries in order to solve current and future problems.
The importance of the OSCE should be strengthened and its 10 principles should be followed strictly.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union all these wonderful formulations were thrown out since they no longer suited the interests of the United States. Now the United States was the pre-eminent power in a unipolar world order and did not resist the temptation to exploit its advantage to expand its sphere of influence, to impose its will and values, and to dominate all the world’s resources. For the world this policy has brought a greater threat than that of the East-West confrontation.
1) The US is clearly an expanding state. The goal of US global politics was developed with unique clarity in the Project for the New American Century (PNAC 1997) by Cheney (Vice President), Rumsfeld (defense secretary) et al.
That means world domination in the sense of American principles and values: “We need to accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.” These provisions were developed further in the following program documents of the US administration.
2) In order to achieve and maintain world domination the project envisaged the unprecedented American expansion of military force: “We must increase our military spending significantly if we want to accept global responsibility, and attain the future military strength required.” Today military spending amounts to nearly $700 billion. That’s nearly half the military spending of the entire world. That’s significantly more than the military spending at the peak of the Cold War.
The aim of the US is global military dominance including missile defense, so that Russia will lose its ability to respond militarily, and thereby will no longer be in a position to offer resistance to military and political threats. American authors openly discuss this (Note 2: the Pentagon).
3) The US has set as its goal to decisively reset the balance of power worldwide to its advantage. They broaden their geopolitical space to maintain their position of world domination as well as their access to the energy and natural resources of world markets. They do this by waging wars against individual states and building up a network of military bases. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has waged war against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya and gained control over many other countries without carrying out military actions. The American military is now in over 130 countries. Europe has long been under American rule and today it has 40,000 men under arms in Germany, including nuclear weapons. These troops are not only an instrument of American domination in Europe but also serve to assert American interests in other regions of the world.
4) The American policy of dominance has generated strong anti-American sentiments around the world as a consequence of the principle known as a defensive reaction. But till now it has not developed to the point that an anti-US coalition of states has come into being, namely those countries against which the United States wants to impose its will. One explanation is that the political elites of Western countries were forced to accept the US dictates of the Cold War in order to protect themselves from Stalin’s expansion. Today they are still free-riding the coat-tails of American policy in order to gain certain advantages. But in the consciousness of European countries other sentiments are awakening.
People are not willed to accept that the United States is treating them like satellites and exploiting them in its global military affairs. A famous German politician Egon Bahr once made a well-known comment: “No people can live continuously on its knees”. If the US does not stop with its politics of domination an anti-American coalition can be expected.
5) In the United States a small secret inner circle decides over war and peace. To it belong some of the richest families. Even Brzezinski in a speech on October 14 showed a major concern because most of today’s Congressmen and Senators as well as most of the top officials belong in the category of very rich, the so-called top 1% and only a small part of them decide on US policy.
6) We are now faced with finding a way out of the largest financial, economic and moral crisis since 1929/33 which has shaken capitalist society and the social structure of US society and has now taken hold of the whole world. Therefore, there is the danger that American leaders pursue the dangerous path of war, for example, a war against Iran. In this way they could try to attain their geopolitical goals. In this age of globalization a medium scale war could very rapidly develop into a world war. However, this does not restrain the US power elite because there are enough of them who believe that it is time to get rid of a few billion unnecessary citizens of the world.
7) As far as propaganda, psychological control and the motivation of American politics of predominance and the creation of enemy stereotypes are concerned the US power elites have surpassed all previous records. Here we see that there is much in common with the factors leading to the world wars of the 20th. Century and the trends of today’s American politics. This is also true in respect of the tendency of overestimating one’s own forces in the effort to secure global predominance. The overextension of the US in its imperial efforts constitutes one of the main reasons for today’s financial crisis and the accumulation of huge public debts. American hegemony is approaching its own demise.
Washington has enriched the international lexicon of terminology with such terms as:
humanitarian war, preventive intervention, superior armaments, general meaning of American values, US interests above all else, “if you’re not for us, you’re against us”, axis of evil, rogue state, checkbook diplomacy, selective strikes, NATO globalization, closing vulnerable areas of the US with anti-missile systems, etc. The new American military doctrine has given the US the prerogative to conduct preventive wars.
What does the Russian leadership think of US policy and how does it respond to the possible threat?
It is known that during the reign of Yeltsin an unusual state concept prevailed according to which there was no longer an external threat to Russia anymore. This concept was supported by Foreign Minister Kosirev. This concept severely damaged Russian national interests and the country’s defense capability.
Later foreign policy was weakened further, reminiscent of a policy of reconciliation.
It is hard to see why the Russian leadership did not even once bring a proposal warning against the dangers of the expansionist politics of the United States, and American hegemony and tyranny in the world arena, which threatened the world and Russia. There were several broad possibilities but they were not utilized. It is remarkable that neither Yeltsin nor Putin nor Medvedev made an appeal to the EU, to revive the good principles of the Paris Charter. They were not even mentioned in official publications although they met the essential national interests of Russia and other European countries.
Another example: In 2008 I put together a project for a convention to ban the Politics of Global Dominance. The project was published and submitted to the Russian Foreign Office with the proposal that it be put forward at the next UN General Assembly.
“We, the United Nations member states, in recognizing that the quest for global predominance in the 20th Century led to world wars, resulted in countless victims, led to colossal losses of material wealth, the militarization of society and people’s consciousness, the emergence of difficult-to-eradicate enemy stereotypes, to post-war poverty, destruction, despair and the hardening of human attitudes, the collapse of production and the decline in science. We are aware that after each World War once again a large power center forms that exercises an imperial and messianic rule threatening the national interests and the freedom of the peoples of the world who must resist this by uniting in opposition. In light of this and that in times of nuclear weapons and the space age, a new world war resulting from the politics of global domination would lead to the extinction of human civilization; in the firm conviction that the politics of predominance always goes hand in hand with expansion and that it is the most dangerous factor in international relations, also that it stands in sharp contrast to the democratic principles of foreign policy and ignores international principles such as “unity in diversity”, “live and let live”. Therefore, the need is recognized to remove the material basis for the politics of global predominance by restricting the military expenditures of all UN members up to 0.5% of their gross domestic product.
We declare our resolution for an international ban on politics that has as its goal the domination over other peoples and that such politics can be described as a Crime against Humanity.”
This international convention could – in the event of its ratification by the UN General Assembly – be an important threshold in the fight of the world community against the politics of hegemony, of dictates and dangerous military despotism in international relations. But this proposal for a convention elicited no response from our politicians.
The Russian leadership could also start other important proposals to consolidate the peace, for example:
• Termination and complete prohibition of military competition which the US forces on the world, and restriction of military budgets to 0.5% of GDP.
• The dissolution of NATO as a relic of the Cold War in light of the fact that Europe today is no longer under threat, and the conversion of the OECD into an energetic principal organization for European and Euro-Atlantic cooperation.
• The repatriation of 40,000 American and 20,000 British troops and nuclear weapons from Germany.
• Proposals against the building of American bases in Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Black Sea and the Balkans.
• Repatriation of NATO troops from Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Regarding the US missile defense system in Europe the Russian leadership has long held an absurd position, and that of cooperation with the Americans in building the system, although the system is directed solely against Russia. Medvedev should have been taking a decisive step and effective measures against the threat a lot sooner and not just before the Duma elections. This makes it appear only as a campaign maneuver.
These and other proposals of Russian foreign policy could counter an increase in the military threat. The Chief of General Staff of the Russian army, Makarov, spoke about them before a public committee on 11 November 2011. But the proposals were not presented to the international organizations. One wonders why?
Historical experience shows that those who sought to dominate Europe and the world always encountered a fiasco. The same fate awaits the initiators and perpetrators who build the American world empire. What is important is to prevent a new world war being unleashed.
Prof. Vyacheslav Dashichev is a member of the Institute of Economics, Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). Moscow
Towards a World War III Scenario
by Michel Chossudovsky
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