American Search for Confrontation
by Norman Pollack
Will the Minsk Agreement hold? Probably not. The West, the US in particular, has too much at stake in desiring its failure, and if Obama-Nuland style gamesmanship/adventurism is up to the mark, expect not-so-subtle sabotage and the resumption of hostilities. This is madness like not before. Neither Kennan nor Kissinger would have gone this far—the object? The weakening and ultimate dismemberment of Russia, bringing it under US-EU-IMF-NATO (the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse) dominance, vastly stretching the area of market fundamentalism.
Even though Russia and China have adopted definite capitalistic features in their political economies and as reflected in their power structures (the presence of Oligarchs and mixed enterprises enjoying State protection, which would have driven Rosa Luxemburg and any self-respecting Socialist mad), that isn’t good enough for the Neo-Cons of the West, by which I mean the unified voice of both major parties in the US and Cameron and Hollande, with Merkel seemingly more bent on AUSTERITY per se than free-market political-economic tyranny. Capitalism here reveals its inner propulsion toward Nazification, not the gas chamber but its social analogues: class-stratification like not before in the modern world; homogeneity of outlook, geared to acceptance of elite controls over fundamental decisions affecting life-chances, Nature, human relationships; a state of permanent war matched with that of permanent impoverishment of the selected victims.
America is proudly leading the way. Income distribution has produced polar extremes, the increasingly enlarged bottom strata, in America, but also the global outcome, mired in debt, unemployment, fearful of the future. Societal tensions, polar extremes of another kind: authoritarian ethnocentrism, whether by class, race, ethnicity, a We-They distinction holding in all cases, and projected onto the world at large in the form of counter-terrorism. Political conflation, where the ethnocentrism applies to the few radicals who remain in our midst, as American society as a whole draws closer together, in spite of, or because of, its divisions, a solidification of fear and mistrust cementing the whole—the bipartisan sameness, especially on foreign policy—under the subterranean historical standard, anticommunism or antiradicalism.
Capitalism in America has done its work well, inducing a social paralysis among the people which allows banks to prosper as never before, military spending—and what it buys in the way of war, intervention, torture, as well as subsidization of an entire industry devoted to death and aggression—to break all bounds, a fragmented domestic polity where hatreds and assorted phobias are backed up by guns now firmly taking root. In other words, America is at the tipping point, cheering on recklessness in foreign affairs as in cheering on the pageantry of brutality in much of professional sports. Rah, rah. Beat those Russians, those Chinese, anyone who questions American greatness, America’s right to rule the roost.
Hence, L’affaire Ukraine, America’s right to dispose of as it sees fit, a test case of its POWER on the world scene. But that only scratches the surface. Ukraine means more. In the American cosmology of rectitude, Ukraine is the doormat that must be crossed in order to facilitate confrontation with Russia, a direct face-to-face encounter from which it would be difficult, for either side, to back away. The walls are closing in, the West defining the surrounding landscape, the US the prime mover of the total armada pushing eastward. And few in America seem to mind. Western Europe, only slightly more. Ironically, in 1917 the response to the Bolshevik Revolution was not as great, not as determined, as in 2015, against a non-Bolshevik Russia. It appears that market fundamentalism is the legacy of anticommunism, or else the latter has become the substructure of its ideology and mental-set. Indeed, capitalism itself has been transmogrified, from a progressive social force in the breakdown of feudalism to a feudalistic militarism in the service of all counterrevolution and the prevention of change into socialism—or even capitalism that still seeks a progressive role to play, one with a significant admixture of socialism.
American leaders, political and business, realize the grand opportunity Ukraine affords to roll back any and all political-social formations that fail to correspond not only to a specific historical-structural formation of capitalism tailored to and complementing its [US] values and needs, but also fails thereby to ensure geopolitical/geostrategic principles of Western global dominance. Today, a.m. Russia, p.m. China, and tomorrow…the world!
My New York Times Comment on Andrew Kramer and Michael Gordon’s article, “U.S. Faults Russia as Combat Spikes in East Ukraine,” (Feb. 14), same date, follows:
It is clear, as NYT posters exemplify, that Ukraine is a black-and-white issue, the West 100% right, Russia 100% wrong, no qualms in rendering the judgment, no reservations, just absolute certainty in the West’s moral rightness. The Times contributes to that moral absolutism, demonizing Putin in the process.
To say otherwise makes one a Stalinist or moral criminal. I guess I should wear a striped suit with a picture of Uncle Joe on a t-shirt. Ukraine is a potential seedbed for WWIII and nuclear conflagration. Why? Because it is the proxy context for NATO’s clustering on the Russian border, and because it is part of the US geopolitical strategy for promoting Russia’s decline (similarly, Obama’s Pacific-first strategy for China’s decline).
Why deny the obvious? The US seeks the RESTORATION of its unilateral global supremacy. This is no longer possible in a changing world power-structure, not only the two major designated enemies, but other rising powers leading to a multi-polar global framework. The fact that the US has joined with (perhaps pressured) the EU to adopt a hostile stand–neither Nuland nor the COUP is a figment of my imagination, nor for that matter, neo-Nazis presence in the Kiev government–toward Russia, doesn’t seem to matter in the West.
Deniability is the handmaid of the geostrategic posture. So be it. I alone can make no difference. Let the historical wheels grind on to the inevitable debacle–and worse.
Norman Pollack has written on Populism. His interests are social theory and the structural analysis of capitalism and fascism. He can be reached at email@example.com.