World Relations

As billions of dollars are invested into creating a vaccine for COVID-19, the imperialists are only interested in protecting their intellectual property and settling scores with one another. Meanwhile, global bodies like the WHO further reveal their impotence in the face of this international public health emergency.

The IMF declared at the beginning of April that we have entered into “the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression”. Yesterday, their perspective was confirmed when figures released for the US showed a rate of 4.8 percent decline. Today, the figures are out showing a 3.8 percent contraction in one quarter in the Eurozone. The disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic sharpened an economic crisis that was already in the making.

Events on a world scale are moving at breakneck speed. The new coronavirus (COVID-19) has set in motion a chain reaction, which is upending any semblance of stability in one country after another. All of the contradictions of the capitalist system are coming crashing to the surface.

The latest outbreak of coronavirus has caused the biggest wave of stock market losses since 2008, wiping $5tn off share values worldwide. Markets are worried that the virus will have a serious impact on an already weak world economy. These fears are not unfounded.

The birth of the New Year was celebrated with the usual razzmatazz. In London, revellers welcomed the start of a new decade with fireworks displays, as did many people in Edinburgh and other major cities. No doubt, Britain’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson was celebrating even more enthusiastically than most other people. Having won the 2019 general election with a handsome majority, he is now free to lead the nation to a successful conclusion of the Brexit negotiations. That, at least, is the theory.

“A phantom is haunting Europe.” With this celebrated phrase, the authors of the Communist Manifesto proclaimed the dawn of a new stage in human history. That was in 1848, a year of revolutionary upheavals in Europe. But now a phantom is haunting, not just Europe, but the whole world. It is the phantom of world revolution.

As we step into a new year, the world is facing a decisive turning point. The crisis of capitalism is reaching a new level – one that threatens to overthrow the entire existing world order that was painfully put together after the Second World War. 10 years after the financial collapse of 2008, the bourgeoisie is nowhere near solving the economic crisis. 

On 2 October, Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, to complete some paperwork so he could marry his Turkish fiancé. He was greeted at the door by a smiling Saudi official. He never came out again. Turkish officials insist they have evidence from inside the Saudi consulate that confirms that Khashoggi was tortured and killed there, his body dismembered and secretly disposed of.

“Our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed as of about four hours ago. I really believe that.” The judgement of President Donald J. Trump delivered from the heights of Helsinki followed hard on the heels of his first summit meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin. If anything, it was even more bizarre than his visits to the NATO summit and the United Kingdoma few days ago. And it made even bigger waves.

Lenin once wrote an article entitled Combustible Material in World Politics. But the amount of combustible material in the present world situation dwarfs anything the Bolshevik leader might have had in mind. Everywhere one looks there is instability, turbulence and convulsion: the conflict between Russia and Ukraine; the bloody Civil War in Syria; the conflict between Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia; the unresolved question of Palestine; and the long-drawn-out and equally unresolved war in Afghanistan.

Expectations for the G7 were not high, but the outcome was even worse than expected. For the first time ever, the G7 ended without a joint statement, and with Trump lashing out at Canada and the EU. The summit in North Korea, on the other hand, ended with all smiles and a joint statement promising peace, denuclearisation and security.

On Thursday the deadline passed for an agreement between Trump and Canada, Japan, Mexico and the EU on trade. Failure to reach an agreement meant that the steel and aluminium tariffs threatened by Trump came into force. With this, Trump has begun the process of unravelling globalisation. On Saturday, the G-7 finance ministers met and the 6 non-US ministers came together against the US, expressing their “unanimous concern and disappointment” over the US decision.

Alan Woods editor of In Defence of Marxism discusses Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear dealand reintroduce sanctions. In taking this step, the US President is throwing a lit match onto an already highly-flammable situation. In the process, Trump has stomped on the interests of the Europeans and instead allied himself to the most reactionary regimes in the region: Israel and Saudi Arabia. Far from bringing stability or security to the people of Iran and the wider Middle East, Trump's actions will only add fuel to the

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