Capitalism not only generates periodic world war but also on a regular basis unleashes war against individual nations. Unable to tolerate others’ independence or accept restrictions on their influence, the leading capitalist powers deliberately embark on imperial wars against countries that irk and offend them. Since 1945, there have been 50 interventionist wars by powers such as the United States, Britain and France. These are warfare-geared states, ever ready to bully weaker, less powerful, more vulnerable countries. This kind of war is calculated to coerce and intimidate, sending a brutal message to everyone in the world: don’t upset our interests, or, if you do, face the consequences.
War abroad is the imperial counterpart to war against workers at home. Hypocritically, these vengeful, destructive wars are always presented as “freedom-loving operations” to “topple nasty dictatorships” or “regime-change rogue states”. In reality, each invasion brings death, economic dislocation, destruction of the social infrastructure and gross political interference. Misery and setback overwhelm the assaulted people while imperial plunder of the nation’s assets is condoned by amenable, imposed placemen. Imperialism uses war to “adjust” the policies of states it disapproves of and to set the tone generally.
The real “axis of evil” today is the set of imperial powers which terrorise the world by aerial bombardments and blitzkrieg campaigns for the aggrandisement of profit and exploitation. The only “rogue states” are the ones that presume to take extraordinary measures to police the rest of the world and attack nations that pose no threat.
Wars are targeted against specific nations in order to control resources, minerals and trade and to dominate countries and regions. There is still the urge to empire but without the old-style colonial rule, except during bursts of direct military intervention.
War abroad damages and distorts the development of the invaded countries, but its costs are not limited to the peoples and countries violated: it also diminishes and impairs those at home who allow it to happen. The price comes in the form of distorted budgets, crude jingoism, the deaths of our young in foreign engagements, the distraction it allows from our real problems and the return of ex-soldiers to our society with severe physical and psychological damage.
War abroad can no longer be employed very easily. Since the defeat of the United States in Vietnam at the hands of a people’s war, it is a stratagem fraught with danger. Imperial armed forces get bogged down in places like Afghanistan and Iraq while creating new forms of enmity to their rule. The financial costs of modern warfare are crippling.
More of us must take steps to end these vicious wars abroad. We must oppose attacks on Syria and prevent aggression against Iran.