A Turbulent World - Part One

We are publishing a speech made by Alan Woods in January. The main emphasis was on the extreme volatility of the present epoch. The state of the whole world system has reached a point where even small events can unleash massive movements. This has been clearly demonstrated by Spain in the last few days with rapid changes and swings in the mood of the masses taking place literally within a few hours.

We are publishing a speech made by Alan Woods in January at a gathering of comrades from different parts of the world to discuss the present world political, social and economic situation. The main emphasis was on the extreme volatility of the present epoch. The state of the whole world system has reached a point where even small events can unleash massive movements. This is clearly demonstrated by Spain in the last few days with rapid changes and swings in the mood of the masses taking place literally within a few hours.

The world is entering into a new and explosive phase. This is an extraordinary moment in world history. There is no real comparison with anything that went on in the past. There are no parallels or very few parallels for the present situation and certainly not in the last 50 or 60 years. This fact creates certain difficulties for the working out of perspectives, and these difficulties exist not only for us but also for the bourgeoisie and the imperialists. The strategists of capital are perplexed, and look to the future with deep foreboding.

Engels explained that there are periods in history where 20 years pass like a single day - periods where nothing much seems to happen. Let us remember that Marx and Engels referred to the 40 years "Winter Sleep" of the British proletariat following the defeat of the revolutionary wave of 1848-9. But he added that there are other periods in which the history of 20 years can be summed up in 24 hours.

When we speak of perspectives, we are dealing in reality with world perspectives. This does not signify a mere compendium of national events. Here the whole is far greater than the sum of the parts. The function of a discussion on world perspectives is to deal with the process as an integrated phenomenon. It is not the function of the world perspectives document to deal with this or that event, taken in isolation. We must deal with fundamental processes. That is the function of a discussion of world perspectives.

What is the main feature of the world situation? It is certainly not a period where nothing much is happening! From our point of view, too much is happening: we find it difficult to keep up with events. There is a colossal acceleration of the processes on a world scale. This is the first thing that must be registered. The whole world situation is undergoing a fundamental change. That is a self-evident fact, which cannot be denied.

What is the reason for this sudden change? What it means is that all the contradictions that have been accumulating for decades are now coming to a critical point. It is a dialectical process that can be observed also in nature. Engels explained that dialectics are the most general laws of motion, nature, human society and human thought, and that is absolutely correct.

The correctness of the dialectical method is demonstrated by a very simple experiment in physics. It involves the addition of one grain of sand after another grain of sand, which creates a mountain until it reaches a critical point in which the addition of one extra grain of sand - just one - causes a landslide. This may be a small avalanche, or it may be a large avalanche. This cannot be predicted. It's impossible to say.

I believe this is called the physics of non-equilibrium systems. From that point of view you could say that the whole of the world is a non-equilibrium system. The whole situation is extremely unstable. The main characteristic is the most colossal unprecedented instability and volatility. This has many expressions at many levels, which was not the case before.

For a long period following the Second World War, world capitalism established a position of relative equilibrium and stability. In the last analysis this reflected the growth of the productive forces internationally. There was a big development of the economy in the advanced capitalist countries including Japan, the United States and Western Europe, which to some extent at least benefited the more backward capitalist countries.

This was the basis for a relative stability in the relations between the classes that lasted for decades in the advanced capitalist countries. It is true that even at this time there were explosions of the class struggle, as in France in 1968, but that was not the general picture.

On the other hand, in this period, world relations were frozen. For a period of half a century the domination of the world by US imperialism and the Soviet Union guaranteed this. But now all that has changed. Instead of stability, you have wild fluctuations at all levels: in the world economy, in the stock exchange, in the world financial system, in the relations between nations and in the relations between the classes.

Just to give an example of the colossal development of the productive forces in that period, we can quote the following figures. In the 10 years that preceded the first post-war recession of 1973-1974, the Japanese economy grew by almost 150%. That is an astonishing figure for a capitalist economy. Canada grew by almost 70%, France by 69 % the USA 48%. The average rate of growth of the OECD countries (the advanced capitalist countries) was 63 % over the decade. This was achieved with full employment and rising living standards.

This was the objective basis for the success of reformism at that time. It permitted a period of reforms, important reforms, and significant concessions, at least in the advanced capitalist countries. Although there were several reasons for this economic growth, the fundamental reason was the enormous development of world trade or, to put it in another way, the enormous intensification of the international division of labour. For a long period there was an upward spiral: cause becomes effect and effect becomes cause, pushing the whole thing upwards. But that is now decisively finished. As a matter of fact the capitalists have never recovered the kind of figures comparable to those achieved before 1973.

The boom-slump cycle is important, but the nature of the boom-slump cycles will vary according to the general framework. For example there were recessions in the 1950s and 1960s, but they were shallow and fleeting so that you hardly noticed them Now it is a different position. After the boom of the second half of the 1990s they are struggling to emerge from recession.

They are talking about a recovery in America. In my opinion, this may or may not be the case. Of course, sooner or later they will come out of even the deepest slump. There is no such thing as a final crisis of capitalism. However, it is striking that at least at this stage the recovery is confined mainly to the USA. And despite the claims they make, it is not clear whether this is going to take off or not.

But in any case, we must not take the economic question in isolation. This would be a mistake. We must see the general position. The general picture is one of a deep crisis on a world scale. And the reason for this is not the boom-slump cycle, but the contradictions that have been accumulating steadily for a period of 20-30 years, which has reached a critical point. Any shock - a military crisis, a political crisis, the class struggle, or any additional disturbance - will have a disproportionate effect. It will shake the system violently, producing the equivalent of earthquakes and avalanches. That is what we have to understand.

In a context like this, sudden and sharp changes are inherent in the situation. There will be one shock after another. Whereas in the period of upswing like the period from 1945 until 1973, these shocks could be absorbed, in this situation that is not the case. These shocks have a profound effect, shaking up society and producing sudden changes in consciousness. From our point of view, in the last analysis, the most important thing is the effect of these crises on the consciousness of the working class.

Let us just take the events of the last year. Twelve months ago, we saw the colossal and unprecedented mass demonstrations against the war in Iraq. We must analyse this correctly. We must not have a routinist attitude toward this, by saying that it was just a few million people demonstrating – "very good, pass the mustard please". Let us leave aside the inevitable confusion of the masses at this stage, and the bad political programme of the leaders. As a symptom of the developing crisis and its effects on consciousness, these mighty demonstrations were a phenomenon of the first order of importance.

What is the meaning of these mass demonstrations? Two million people demonstrated in London. This was the biggest demonstration in British history. It was bigger than the demonstrations of the Chartists in Britain in the 19th century or of the mass demonstrations in the 1970s. In Spain there were 6 million people on the streets, and about 3 or 4 million in Italy. What was the reason for this? Was it the brilliance of the petty bourgeois organizers? As we say very graphically in the English language, they would not be capable of organizing a drinking party in a brewery. In fact, they were the ones who were most astonished at their success. It had nothing to do with the organizers. It showed a process that is developing in the bowels of society, as we have explained many times.

In Britain, people are fed up with Tony Blair, although paradoxically they vote for him, because there is no alternative. There is a seething subterranean discontent amongst the masses in Britain and in all other countries without exception. But because of the absence of the subjective factor this discontent can take all kinds of peculiar forms. If there were a mass Leninist party, the problem would be very quickly solved. But no such party exists. That is the nub of the question.

The central problem is the collapse of the political authority of Marxism everywhere. There is not even the caricature, which existed in the form of Stalinism in the past. This at least bore some vague resemblance to revolutionary ideas. Despite all its crimes, it served as a point of reference for leftward-moving workers and youth. Now even that has disappeared. There is a colossal vacuum that is temporarily filled by all kinds of confused petty bourgeois tendencies: pacifism, anarchism, and so on.

It is a dialectical paradox that precisely at this moment, when the forces of revolution are quickly maturing, when the objective conditions for revolution are developing, particularly in Latin America, that the leadership of the official organizations are moving far to the right. Therefore, with the collapse of the authority of Marxism, the first mass movements will inevitably be tinged with all kinds of confusion, especially amongst the youth, how could it be otherwise? Here we have the first beginnings, the early, uncertain steps in the reawakening of the masses.

There is a colossal contradiction, which is the same contradiction that Trotsky explained in 1938 between the maturity of the objective conditions for revolution and the extreme weakness of the subjective factor. This is expressed in a crisis of the leadership of the traditional parties and organizations of the proletariat. Decades of capitalist upswing have set the final seal on the reformist degeneration of the leaders of these parties and also of the trade unions. There has been a collapse of the old policies of reformism. These were predicated on the upswing in capitalism. But the crisis of capitalism spells a crisis of reformism. Instead of reforms we have counter-reforms, as we see most clearly in Britain and Germany.

All the governments of the world, whether they are left wing or right wing, no matter what they call themselves, are pursuing fundamentally the same policy. That is not an accident. It reflects the reality of the crisis of capitalism. They can no longer give meaningful reforms. Even if there is an upturn, which there will be at a certain stage, it does not mean that everything is going to be resolved and that they will be able to give reforms. The situation will not be stabilized.

As Michael Roberts pointed out in his article published on Marxist.com, the figure of 8% growth in the US is exaggerated: The real figure is closer to 3%. But even if we accept the official figures, which certainly exaggerate the tendencies towards recovery in America, unemployment continues to rise, the sackings and closures continue and all the time there is merciless pressure on the working class.

This means that an economic recovery will not be a recipe for social peace, quite the contrary. If there is a recovery with these characteristics, it would be a recipe at a certain stage for an outbreak of strikes and struggles on an economic front. The American workers will turn to the ruling class and say, "you say there is a boom, that's wonderful! You people are making profits, we want ours". That is also not a recipe for stability.

US imperialism appears to be completely dominant, and Bush appears to be supremely confident. In fact, he is a bit like Mr. Macawber in Charles Dickens' novel David Copperfield, that cheerful bankrupt who was always "confidently expecting that something will turn up" to solve his problems. I think it is not excluded that Bush might be re-elected. It is possible, although it will be a close thing. The reason it will be so close is that American society has never been as polarized as it is at present.

One cannot say that he may or may not be elected because a lot of things can happen between now and the Presidential elections. Bush is relying on economic recovery, but that is not at all clear. The present economic recovery is very fragile. It has no sound basis and may yet collapse. He is also relying on the fact that the USA had a relatively painless victory in Iraq (painless for the Americans, that is). In Iraq they say, "We won!" They say the same in Afghanistan: "We're in complete control", though neither statement is true. As the list of casualties grows, so the realisation begins to dawn on the American public that they are bogged down in a quagmire with no end in sight.

With colossal power comes the colossal arrogance of these people. We see this in the treatment of their so-called Allies. As we predicted these have been completely excluded from the Iraqi reconstruction. Everyone expected the Americans to take the lion's share of the loot. But it would have been prudent to give some crumbs at least, to others, starting with the British. In the end, reluctantly, they have given a few minor contracts to the British to keep them quiet. But the others have all been frozen out. They are all gangsters, of course, but the American gangsters are blatant in their behaviour. They have given 1.8 billion dollars' worth of contracts to two US companies, which just by coincidence are important contributors to the Republican Party. This is overt robbery and imperialist plunder.

The US imperialists have colossal superiority. There has never been such a situation in world history, where there was just one super power. There were always at least two or three powers, constantly forming alliances, and changing alliances. This is not the case now. American military power is truly staggering. Its power is disproportionate to the rest. In the past, the British imperialists had a policy of maintaining a navy that would be stronger than the combined fleets of its two nearest rivals. Now the USA enjoys greater military power than the next 24 countries.

The USA accounts for 38% of world arms expenditure, as opposed to 5% each for the main European Powers (Britain, Germany and France) and only 6% for Russia. Moreover, it accounts for 40% of world arms production, including all the most modern and sophisticated weapons. By comparison, the weaponry of the Europeans looks fairly pathetic. They can only grind their teeth in impotent rage, while striving to put together some kind of "European defence force".

The relative intelligence of the leaders of the bourgeoisie is not a decisive factor when we are talking about fundamental processes. One can have capable bourgeois leaders and you can have fools, just as one can have labour leaders or revolutionary leaders who are more or less capable. Ultimately that is not decisive, of course. But it does play a role in complicating matters. The present occupant of the White House is probably the most obtuse leader the American bourgeoisie has ever had.

Just look at the political representatives of the American bourgeoisie today: Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney. On their faces you can see the narrowness, the avarice and the stupidity of the typical American businessman. They are both arrogant and ignorant as pigs. This was not always the case. In the past there were some quite smart people in the White House like FD Roosevelt, the author of the New Deal. This American aristocrat was quite a clever man and able to dominate the world stage with ease. Now compare this narrow bourgeois, Bush. He really is not capable of seeing further than his own nose.

It is the same story in Britain. In the past the aristocrats dominated British political life. Now it is the ignorant petty bourgeois who set the tone. Blair and Thatcher are typical examples of this horrible middle-class species. Napoleon said that England was a nation of shopkeepers. These are two shopkeepers, with the shopkeeper mentality - narrow and greedy, basing everything on short-term calculations. And like a shopkeeper grovelling before a wealthy customer, these middle-class upstarts grovel before US imperialism. The so-called "Special Relationship" with America is only a fig-leaf to disguise a relation of abject dependence.

Now Bush is talking about putting a man on Mars. I think we should give critical support to this proposal, as long as the man that is sent is George W Bush, and he is issued with a one-way ticket. In any case he might only need a one-way ticket because it seems likely that anyone sent on such a mission would be killed by solar rays.

He is proposing a space programme with a station on the moon and a man on Mars, but he hasn't costed this or, if he has, he has written his calculations down on the back of his menu after dinner in a restaurant. Such a project would cost hundreds of billions of dollars, at a time when America has a huge budget deficit. This shows the light-mindedness of the American bourgeoisie and of its representatives.

It is very unlikely that the Americans will proceed with such a mission on both economic and technical grounds, particularly when they are getting excellent results from unmanned flights. It is only a political manoeuvre to increase Bush's standing in the opinion polls. The man on Mars is intended to go no further than November. After that they will quietly drop it. Even so, this proposal was probably calculated to show the rest of the world in a clumsy way that the USA has an unbeatable superiority in technology in general and military technology in particular.

Of course, the Bush administration does not cause the worldwide instability. That is a product of objective circumstances, as we have explained. But the policies of this administration certainly complicate things. It makes a bad situation a hundred times worse. It introduces new elements of instability. Bush has developed a new military doctrine, which, on its own, is enormously increasing the level of turbulence in the world.

This Bush doctrine tears up the whole basis of international law, which has existed for about three hundred years. It was laid down by the Treaty of Westphalia, which says that you must not intervene in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. Now Bush declares that American imperialism has the right to intervene against any country which it thinks represents some kind of a threat to the USA. This is an astonishing affirmation. It would mean that North Korea has the right to attack South Korea or that Russia has the right to attack Georgia, arguing that it is a threat to Russia (which they have actually raised). It would be a recipe for endless wars.

On this basis, Bush and Blair argued that Iraq was a threat to their security and invaded and occupied it. There is just one little problem: they haven't found any weapons of mass destruction. They've quietly withdrawn this accusation, but at the same time they are still occupying the country. By the standards of bourgeois international law, this occupation is illegal, but they are occupying it anyway, and they want to plunder it. They want the Iraqi people to pay for their own enslavement! It's good old-fashioned imperialism, like the imperialism of the British 200 years ago.

Not long ago they announced they had given another huge contract to Cheney's old company, Halliburton. There is only one little problem with that plan. They are faced with an implacable guerrilla war on the part of the Iraqi people. There is no doubt about this. The American imperialists themselves say it is a guerrilla war. Coalition troops are being killed every day. More troops have been killed since the war than during the war itself. And that is going to continue.

The discontent of the Iraqis is growing all the time for obvious reasons. In the first place, for all the Iraqis – Shiites or Sunnis - it is an affront to be occupied by a foreign force. In the second place over 50% of the population are unemployed. There have been riots and demonstrations in the south, in Basra, where the British forces are in control. This is ironical. The Shiites were supposed to be in favour of the allies. Now demonstrations are put down in blood by these nice democratic British imperialists. They shot some unarmed demonstrators, and now we will see what happens in Basra.

The Americans, and the British, and all the others, are facing growing casualties. The Italians have already suffered the consequences of sending troops to Iraq, and they can expect further shocks. Some equally disturbing shocks await the Spanish, the Poles, and all the other smaller imperialist powers who are eager to play the role of the jackals of US imperialism in Iraq. Sooner or later this must have an effect on public opinion in all these countries, especially in America. That is why it is impossible to determine exactly what will happen in this year's elections.

What has been achieved by the invasion of Iraq? They've got rid of Saddam Hussein, whom they finally arrested. They publicly humiliated him. This shows yet again the hypocrisy of the imperialists. Just remember the scandal that was raised when the Iraqis showed some American prisoners of war on television. But the far worse treatment of Saddam Hussein is deemed to be quite acceptable by these Christian gentlemen. The public showing of Saddam Hussein was designed to humiliate him. It caused an outrage in all Arab countries.

The US imperialists must be a little bit mentally defective if they think that the capture of Saddam Hussein was going to stop the guerrilla war. It is a complete misconception. A movement of national resistance that takes the form of a guerrilla war, by definition, does not have one head. There are many groups involved. They are contradictory groups, but they are united on one thing, the foreign imperialists must leave Iraq. This movement will not finish until this objective is achieved.

The Americans have a big difficulty here. They'd like to fix up a puppet government, and now they are rushing to get a "constitution" approved. Before they were in no hurry. The difference now is that they can feel the fire under their backside. They are trying desperately to find some way out of the situation. No matter what they do now will be wrong. If they stay there it will be wrong, it will be like the West Bank, with permanent uprisings and terrorist attacks. But if they withdraw the situation will be even worse. A puppet government will not last long. Whatever government emerges in the end, it will certainly not be friendly to the United States. Therefore they are stuck. This could go on for quite a long time, until sooner or later they are forced to withdraw. But they'll have to do so at some point.

Apart from the lives it has cost, the occupation of Iraq is also costing them a lot of money - 4 billion dollars a month. It's a huge economic haemorrhage. Even a country with such vast resources as the United States, cannot stand a drain of that character. There will also be a steady increase in deaths, with more Americans and Iraqis killed.

Some of these people in Washington seem to actually believe their own propaganda, which is a fatal mistake. They wanted to get rid of Saddam Hussein, and establish "democracy". But what sort of democracy is this? The masses are demonstrating and correctly demanding elections and democracy. The US says, "You can't have elections! You are not allowed to vote - have some Democracy instead!" The Iraqis are very concrete people and don't understand this – and neither does anyone else. This is "democracy" a la George W. Bush.

Bush proclaimed a "war against terror". But how can you defeat small groups of fanatical terrorists or guerrilla fighters with tanks and guns and planes? Bush now says they are winning the war against terror. Where is the evidence of this? He said this one week ago. I don't know what planet Mr. Bush is living on – maybe it is Mars! How are they winning the war against terrorism? They have not captured Osama Bin Laden; they have not defeated Al Qaeda. In fact they are the best recruiting sergeants for Al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda was not in Iraq before the invasion, now they are in Iraq. That's what the "war on terror" has achieved: to encourage terrorism to grow and spread everywhere. They have put in danger every pro-Western Arab regime, and have undermined them. The regime in Saudi Arabia, for example, is hanging by a thread. It is impossible to say how long that regime is going to last. Thanks to Bush, the Arab youth in that country must be queuing up to join Al Qaeda.

In the next period there will inevitably be new terrorist acts. The fact there hasn't been another September 11, is not to say that there won't be one. The terrorists will not repeat the same tactics, but they'll find other tactics. They can take their time, and they will attack American interests everywhere, as well as British interests, Spanish interests, and Polish interests. This is yet another factor in the general instability.

Trotsky explained long ago that in any country where terrorism is endemic, that is a symptom of a profound crisis of society. Now we have, not just a single country, but an entire world in which terrorism is endemic. As a symptom the spread of terrorism shows the general crisis of capitalism. It is an expression of two things: 1) that the capitalist system is at an impasse on a world scale, and 2) the collapse of the political and moral authority of Marxism.

US imperialism is the most monstrous and barbarous regime in the entire world. After the invasion of Iraq, it has shamelessly bullied Iran, and shamelessly bullied Syria. Colonel Ghaddafi, the Libyan leader, has admitted to having his own "weapons of mass destruction" and has agreed to inspectors coming in and is prepared to destroy them. But the Americans have still not lifted their economic sanctions against Libya. What they want in Libya isn't Ghaddafi's WMDs, but his oil. Let him open up the oilfields to our big companies, then we'll talk! Such is the language of the Washington Mafia.

Washington has also threatened North Korea. However, although Pyongyang makes no secret of the fact that it has got nuclear weapons, they didn't threaten North Korea too much, because the North Koreans possess lots of missiles that could devastate S. Korea and which could probably hit the west coast of America. The imperialists only attack small and weak nations. They did not dare invade North Korea. Instead, they are negotiating with Pyongyang through China.

In Afghanistan nothing has been solved. Even while they were talking about a constitution for Afghanistan, Kofi Annan publicly stated, that the whole peace process was in danger in that country because of the security situation. They don't like to talk about this, and they don't put it in the press, but there is fighting going on all the time in Afghanistan.

The instability in Afghanistan is spreading to other countries, particularly Pakistan - where they have tried to kill Musharraf on at least two occasions in recent months. He was lucky. What that shows is that the regime in Pakistan is split, that the state is split. The Pakistan bourgeoisie thought that they were so clever in intervening in Afghanistan, they thought that they would control Afghanistan. Instead the situation in Afghanistan is controlling them.

Latin America

Latin America shows the whole world situation. Do you want to know what the future of Britain is, or the future of Sweden, or the future of Italy? Then look at Argentina, look at Bolivia, look at Peru. The developments in South America show the advanced capitalist countries their own future as in a mirror. In Bolivia the working class could have taken power a dozen times. In reality they had the power in their hands, but the power slipped through their fingers. We saw the same thing in Ecuador, and two years ago in Argentina.

The situation in Venezuela it is a tragedy that would make you weep. After the defeat of the first counter-revolution, there could have been a peaceful revolution in Venezuela. Nobody could have resisted it. Hugo Chavez just had to raise his little finger, and that would have been the end of it. But the opportunity was missed. As a result there was a second attempt by the counterrevolutionaries in the so-called strike, which was really an attempt by the bosses and the right wing union leaders to sabotage the economy and prepare the way for another reactionary coup.

Again the masses defeated the counterrevolution, and again a golden opportunity was missed. As a result the counterrevolutionaries are again attacking, using the referendum as a rallying cry. It is too soon to say what the outcome will be. But the situation is very dangerous for the Revolution. It is still possible that, in spite of everything, the masses will succeed in defeating the reactionaries and taking power. That task would be immeasurably easier if there existed a revolutionary party with a genuine Marxist Leninist leadership. Of course, the Venezuelan revolution could not succeed in Venezuela alone. In order to succeed it would have to spread to other countries. But it would give a powerful impetus to the revolution everywhere.

We have a similar situation in Peru. There is not a single stable bourgeois regime anywhere in Latin America. But what is a real tragedy is that the POR in Bolivia, which was a big party, did not maintain the Trotskyist programme. Had they done so, they could have taken power. They did not maintain the Trotskyist position, and therefore they are finished. We have to rebuild the forces of genuine Marxism, i.e. Trotskyism, in Latin America and build a genuine revolutionary Marxist international movement by returning to the policies of Trotsky and the policies of Lenin.

There has been a violent upheaval in world relations in the last 12 months, which is quite astonishing. Cracks and fissures have opened up in all the international institutions that have been built up painfully over the past 50 years. The UN, the Security Council, NATO, the European Union – all are affected. Precisely when the EU is expanding it enters into crisis. In fact, it is precisely this expansion that is undermining it further. It is aggravating all the splits and cracks between the main powers.

Here again one sees that this is an organic crisis. We pointed out that the Euro was really a utopian venture, because it is impossible to unify economies that are moving in opposite directions. It is true that the movement towards monetary union has gone further than we expected. But we pointed out that it remains impossible to unify capitalist economies and countries that are moving in different directions. As we pointed out that will be made clear in a period of recession.

The European bourgeois tried to tie all the economies of the EU into one rigid monetary system. They thought they were being very clever, establishing rigid rules. But you can't establish rigid rules for a free market economy. They said, "you must not have a budget deficit of more than 3%." This scheme is really a method of permanent austerity.

Poor Portugal had to pay a fine when it had a budget deficit over 3%. But of course, now Germany has got a deficit, they don't want to pay, and they won't pay. The same goes for France and Italy. The European Commission says they will take them to court and make them pay. The Germans and French will tell them what they can do with their court. They won't pay, and then the whole thing will be thrown into crisis. In the end the Maastricht treaty will be torn up.

The fault line between Europe and America is deepening all the time. A sharp conflict is developing between America and France. The Americans are behaving like the Romans at the time of the Roman Empire. They have challenged the French in the Middle East. That is the reason for the conflict with France over Iraq. The Americans wanted to eject France and Russia from Iraq and at least for the present they have succeeded in doing so.

The conflict between Washington and Paris is also manifested in Africa, where bush fires are breaking out everywhere. The whole of Africa is in a state of collapse. The imperialists are intervening behind the scenes, jockeying for positions and access to Africa's raw materials, and thereby exacerbating the instability with appalling results. In the Congo an estimated four million people were killed in the civil war. Liberia, Sierra Leone, Uganda and other states have experienced similar horrors.

Belgium, January 2004

See Part Two