Wars, Tragicomic Wars

Tragicomic Wars दुखद+हास्यास्पद, भद्दे युद्ध वाली इस सामग्री का हिन्दी अनुवाद कठिन लग रहा है। नये सिरे से इसे हिन्दी में लिखने का प्रयास हम करेंगे। इस बीच गूगल अनुवाद से काम चलायें।

● Be they the epic wars like the Mahabharat waged in the Indian subcontinent or the wars waged by Alexander the Great, all the wars in hierarchical social formations can be read as tragicomic wars.

● Wage labour based commodity production is the basis of contemporary hierarchies. Wage labour based commodity production, which is becoming increasingly dysfunctional, has taken the tragic as well as the comic in wars to new heights. This can be said to have commenced with the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. The “Ukraine” war of 2022 is the new episode in these tragicomic wars.

● In this vibrant and lively period of global wage workers, hierarchies in all spheres of social life are in dire straits. POWER AS SUCH is rapidly becoming irrelevant.

And in this scenario, nth order farces of the Grand Strategy, the geopolitical doctrine aimed at world dominance, have been playing out throughout the world.

# Ten-fifteen years ago, I had read “Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives” (Basic Books, 1997) by Zbigniew Brzezinski, NSA of US President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981).

And now, Notes From the Editors in the April 2022 issue of the Monthly Review, “As we write these notes at the beginning of March 2022, the eight-year limited civil war in Ukraine has turned into a full-scale war”, have refreshed our memory of Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Grand Chessboard.

Our notes from the April 2022 issue of the “Monthly Review – An Independent Socialist Magazine” (published since May 1949 from New York, USA) follow. In the context of the “Ukraine” war, the jottings may also illustrate some of the tragicomic wars during these thirty years.

● Grand Strategy

— The geopolitical doctrine aimed at world dominance was introduced by Halford Mackinder in imperial Britain before the First World War. In 1904, Mackinder introduced the notion that geopolitical control of the world depended on the domination of Eurasia (the main land mass of the European and Asian continents).

— Geopolitical doctrine for world domination was further developed by Karl Haushofer in Nazi Germany and Nicholas John Spykman in the United States during the 1930s and ’40s.

— Within months of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the growth of the United States as a unipolar power, Paul Wolfowitz, then under secretary of defense for policy in US President George H. W. Bush administration issued a Defense Planning Guidance:

— “Our policy must now refocus on precluding the emergence of any potential future global competitor.”

— “Russia will remain the strongest military power in Eurasia.”

— Extraordinary efforts were therefore necessary to weaken Russia’s geopolitical position permanently and irrevocably.

# Along with Henry Kissinger, the main architect of this new imperial strategy of the USA was Zbigniew Brzezinski. He, as President Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor, had laid the trap for the Soviet Union (Russia) in Afghanistan. Following a secret directive signed by President Carter in July 1979, it was under Brzezinski’s direction, that the CIA, working together with the arc of political Islam stretching from Muhammad Zia-ul Haq’s Pakistan to the Saudi royals, recruited, armed, and trained the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. The CIA’s buildup of the Mujahideen and various terrorist groups in Afghanistan precipitated the Soviet Union (Russian) intervention, leading to an endless war that contributed to the destabilization of the Soviet Union itself.

— After 11 September 2001 twin tower attacks in the USA, to queries as to whether he regretted establishing the arc of terrorism that was to lead to 9/11 and beyond, Brzezinski (who had posed in photos with Mujahideen fighters) responded by simply saying that the destruction of the Soviet Union was worth it.

# Brzezinski remained a key advisor to subsequent U.S. administrations but did not have a prominent official role, given his hawkish reputation and the extremely negative view of him in Russia. Nevertheless, more than any other U.S. strategic thinker, it was Brzezinski who articulated the U.S. grand strategy on Russia that was enacted over three decades by successive U.S. administrations.

— The NATO wars that dismembered Yugoslavia in the 1990s overlapped with the onset of NATO’s eastward expansion.

— The US government had promised the Soviet Union boss Mikhail Gorbachev, at the time of German reunification, that NATO would expand “not one inch” to the East into the former Warsaw Pact countries.

— In October 1996, President Bill Clinton, while campaigning for re-election, indicated that he favoured the expansion of NATO into the former Soviet Union (Russian empire). And on re-election, President Clinton in 1997 started NATO expansion in Eastern Europe. This NATO expansion was continued by all subsequent U.S. administrations.

— In 1997, Zbigniew Brzezinski published his book, “The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives”, in which he declared that the United States was in a position “for the first time ever [for] a non-Eurasian power” of becoming “the key arbiter of Eurasian power relations,” while also constituting “the world’s paramount power.” In this way, the United States would become the “first” and the “last” global empire.

— In order for the NATO under U.S. leadership to dominate Eurasia, it was first necessary for it to gain primacy over what Brzezinski called “the black hole” left by the Soviet Union’s departure from the world stage. The “pivot” on which this turned, Brzezinski insisted, was Ukraine.

— Minus Ukraine, Russia was irrevocably weakened, while a Ukraine that was incorporated as part of NATO would be a dagger at Moscow’s heart. Yet, any attempt to turn Ukraine against Russia, Brzezinski warned, would be seen as a major security threat, a red line, by Russia itself. This then required the “enlargement of NATO,” extending it all the way to Ukraine, shifting strategic weapons to the East, with the object of eventually gaining control of Ukraine itself.

— The enactment of this grand strategy would likewise make Europe, notably Germany, more dependent on the United States, undercutting the independence of the European Union.

# Hazards to the great game:

— The United States should support the expansion of NATO all the way to the East into the former Soviet Union. Penetrating into Ukraine, with which Russia shared a 1,200-mile border.

— Brzezinski noted that, if this succeeded, it would inevitably force Russia in the arms of China. China and Russia might form an “antihegemonic bloc” opposed to the United States, possibly including Iran as well. The result would be a geopolitical situation akin to the early Cold War in the days of the Sino-Soviet bloc, though this time with a much weaker Russia and a much stronger China.

— Brzezinski’s answer to this, was to pressure China via Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Korean Peninsula through the promotion of an expanded alliance centered on Japan and Australia. This would place the United States in a favorable position to combat both China and Russia.

— The Brzezinski doctrine: The key to the checkmate of Russia, and the weak link with which the USA could gain dominion over Eurasia, remained Ukraine. Complete U.S./NATO dominance of Ukraine was a virtual death threat to Russia. Under further pressure, Russia’s own breakup into lesser states could happen. China then would also be destabilized from its Far West

# The relation of Brzezinski’s “grand chessboard” strategy to the actions actually taken by the US governments over the last three decades:

— Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, NATO has absorbed fifteen countries, all to the East, which were previously part of the Warsaw Pact or were regions within the Soviet Union.

— On its East, along the borders of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine, NATO has seen a major military buildup. It currently has an air presence in Estonia, Lithuania, and Romania.

— U.S. troops and NATO multinational troops are massed in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, and Romania.

— NATO missile defense facilities are located in Poland and Romania.

— The object of all of these forward military installations (not to mention those in Central and Western Europe) is Russia.

— In 2008, NATO declared that it intended eventually to incorporate Ukraine as a NATO member.

# In 2014, the US government helped engineer a coup in Ukraine overthrowing president Victor Yanukovych.

— Yanukovych had been friendly to the West. But in the face of financial conditionalities imposed by the International Monetary Fund, his government turned to Russia for economic help, enraging the West. A few months later this led to the Maidan coup with the new Ukrainian leader being hand-picked by the United States.

— Following the coup, the predominantly Russian-speaking Crimea merged with Russia.

— Meanwhile, the largely Russian-speaking Donbas region in the Eastern part of the country broke away from Ukraine. This resulted in the formation of two republics of Luhansk and Donetsk. War in Ukraine. Luhansk and Donetsk received military backing from Russia, while Ukraine (Kyiv) received ever-greater Western military support, effectively commencing the longer-range process of incorporating Ukraine into NATO.

— The initial conflict ended in 2014–15 with the signing of the Minsk Agreements by France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine, and endorsed by the UN Security Council.

— Nevertheless, the military conflict continued and eventually intensified again. In February 2022, the Russian government sent its troops into Ukraine.

[Note: With the expansion of factory production in Western Europe in the 1860s, the emergence of joint stock companies commenced. Joint stock of a dozen persons, to thousands of shareholders, to loans as the major source of funds for setting up and running production enterprises, transport companies etc. led to the increasing insignificance of individual ownership-private property-the capitalists. The representatives of the social relation, capital were transformed from personalised forms, the capitalists to faceless representatives of capital, the managements.

A corollary of this was the emergence of an articulate social strata of engineers, scientists, lawyers, correspondents, accountants, doctors, teachers, writers : the intellectuals. Overwhelming part of the intellectuals constituted managements. A part of intellectuals became revolutionary intellectuals.

The revolutionary intellectuals forged the theory of social democracy and constituted social democratic organisations to accelerate the movement towards state-capitalism. Revolutionary intellectuals constitute the Left in general.

The bankruptcy of Intellectuals As Such, on the global scale, came to the fore with the incomparable leaps in the productive forces that commenced with the introduction of electronics in the production processes in the 1970s.

State-capitalism seems to be the essence of the Left in general and Monthly Review magazine from which we have taken the information above seems to be a Left publication.]

— 11 April 2022

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