CPI-ML New Democracy, Imperialism

US Imperialism : Declining Power and ‘Smart operators’

Collapse of G-7 meeting in Quebec, Canada marks serious intensification of contradictions among the imperialist countries. These contradictions should be viewed in conjunction with rising contradictions outside the G-7 fold. These contradictions relate to economic, political and military spheres. US Admn. under Trump is navigating its own course abandoning leadership role of the western imperialist countries. Successive US Admn. have tried to assert hegemonic role of US imperialism disregarding relative decline in the economic power of US imperialism and rise of other powers, particularly China. Bush Junior Admn. had launched ‘global war on terror’ to perpetuate hegemonic role of US imperialism. But this attempt to stop the wheels of history from turning was stalled by strong resistance of the people against US led aggressions and rising cost of wars undermining a declining economy resulting in bursting of bubble from 2008 onwards. In came Obama, who dreamt of launching the hegemonic project through other means. He boasted of trying to use smart power criticizing his predecessor for using crude power. Leading from behind and attempting to usurp the fruits from the front, Obama strategy too came a cropper. Their drive has resulted in rising conflicts in different parts of the world. Libya is a clear example where their regime change strategy has led to collapse of the state and intensifying sectarian violence.

Trump too portrays himself as a smart operator blaming his predecessors for the setbacks to US imperialism in different parts of the world. He thinks that his experience in managing a real estate company can be applied to controlling the real world.

After the failed G-7 summit in Canada, Trump has headed to Singapore to a summit meeting with leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un on June 12. His flip-flop in first cancelling and then affirming the summit meeting shows the dilemma faced by the US imperialism in East Asia. US Admn.’s moves have been targeted more on keeping control over South Korea than confronting North Korea. When the present leader of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, was elected President, US Admn. placed THAAD missile system in South Korea to undercut his promise to improve relations with North Korea. This provocative US action was suitably answered by North Korean leadership. US Admn.’s attempts to ratchet up tensions in Korean peninsula were resented by the people of South Korea. North Korea viewed Trump Admn.’s actions as provocative and demanded cancellation of US-South Korea joint military exercise.

Cancellation of that military exercise by South Korea was reciprocated by North Korea. Soon followed the combined team of two Koreas in Winter Olympics. Leaders of the two Koreas affirmed their resolve to establish peace in the Korean peninsula and its denuclearization. US Admn. had no option but to follow this lead and Trump announced that he was willing to meet leader of North Korea, a longstanding demand of North Korean leadership. But the imperialist leopard can’t change its spots. The coming summit and North Korean talk of denuclearization was immediately seized by neo-cons to equate it with Libya. This was strongly rebuffed by North Korea. Then came the flip-flop of Trump on summit.

Trump Admn.’s move is targeted at keeping its influence in South Korea whose growing trade relations with China and peaceful relations with North Korea threatened to cut US out of picture. While US imperialism is posing that its only focus is on abandonment of nuclear weapons by North Korea, the two Koreas are eager to sign a peace treaty as there is only an ‘armistice’ after the war in Korea. If the peace treaty does materialize between two Koreas, US will lose leverage in Korean peninsula. Desperation of US Admn. is amply shown by the fact that Trump has scaled down expectations from the summit on the question of denuclearization calling it a process rather than an agreement at the first summit as he was doing earlier. It is obvious that US Admn. was as eager for the summit as North Korean leadership. For them this is meant to improve relations with South Korea. China has also played a role in it but less commented role is that of Russia who played an important role in this.

Beyond the chatter indulged in by US Admn. and Trump himself, it is obvious indication of the decline of US power in shaping the events in different parts of the world. But the successive US Admn. have been loath to recognize it. Trump is in serious need of some success and is likely to hail the results of this as one. Trump’s verbal and twitter diarrhoea notwithstanding, US imperialism does not have the resources for its quest for world hegemony.