Statement of Jose Maria Sison, Chairperson Emeritus International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS)
May 28, 2022
Dear Comrades and Friends,
Let me discuss the serious concern that US imperialism and its allies are the factors and promoters of aggression in the Ukraine and South Korea and that the proletariat and people of the world must do what they can in order to prevent imperialist war. It is in the nature of imperialist powers to be aggressive in order to redivide the world that had already been divided in a previous balance of power.
Since its advent in several countries in the early 20th century, monopoly capitalism has caused the most destructive world wars due to its relentless drive for expansion. Between wars, imperialist powers have stepped up military production to earn profits from the potential sale and lend-lease of weapons and widen the prospects of expanding economic territory to counter the ever pressing crisis of overproduction, over-accumulation of capital and the falling rate of profits.
Imperialist powers are prone to become fascist when they are unable to solve the crisis and rule in the old way. For an extended period, such as that after the Soviet Union broke the US nuclear monopoly in 1949, the imperialist powers have been able to avoid direct wars among themselves involving the use of the most powerful weapons that they have, namely the nuclear weapons, because of the fear of mutually assured destruction.
Thus, for 73 years already, the imperialist powers have avoided nuclear war and concentrated on how to oppress and exploit the people and nations in the third world and how to carry out wars of aggression against them or even engage in proxy inter-imperialist wars without the use of nuclear weapons. But today the crisis of the world capitalism system has become so grave that US imperialism has engaged in provocations and counter-provocations that easily lead to the implied or explicit threats and counter-threats of nuclear war.
Aggression and Counter-Aggression in Ukraine
The world has become more dangerous and challenging to the proletariat and the people since the betrayal of socialism and capitalist restoration in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and finally in China. Particularly since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, US imperialism has become more arrogant and aggressive with the notion of being forever the sole superpower in charge of the new world order and with the license to use the full-spectrum of its power and the NATO to dominate Europe and the whole world.
The US has violated the Minsk Agreement of 1991 in which assurances were made against the expansion of the NATO in exchange for the reunification of Germany, the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the dismantling of the Warsaw Pact. Within the 1990s, the US and NATO waged a war of aggression against Yugoslavia and destroyed it and proceeded to expand the NATO, its military bases and missile deployment to the borders of Russia. They also extended their wars of aggression to Central Asia, West Asia and Africa.
In 2008 the US and NATO started to subvert Ukraine and other former Soviet republics. By 2013 they could carry out the Maidan protest movement and overthrow the legally elected government of Ukraine in order to set up a Russophobic and fascist regime in Kyiv in 2014 and subsequently for more than 8 years prohibit the use of the Russian language among Russian Ukrainians in the cities and the Russian communities in the Donbas region, unleashed the massacre of 14,000 Russian Ukrainians and forced the exile of 3.7 million of them.
What Putin has called a “special military operation” against the Ukrainian fascists, with some wrong and inappropriate comments against Lenin and Stalin on the question of state sovereignty and the right of national minorities to self-determination, is actually an operation of counter-aggression against the prior aggression of the US, NATO and the Ukrainian fascist puppets against the Russian nationality in Ukraine, even as there is a certain measure of contradictions among the Russian oligarchs and Ukrainian oligarchs who have become US and NATO puppets.
The armed conflict that has already developed between Russia and Ukraine since February 24 can be solved by the protagonists themselves through peace negotiations if they cut off the interventions, interferences and military supplies of the US and NATO to their Ukrainian puppets. In this regard, the Ukrainian fascists should stop to pipe dream that they can and must die for the US and NATO to the last Ukrainian.
In the course of the previous rounds of peace negotiations between Ukraine and Russia, the people of the world have come to know that such proposals as the following are on the table: that Ukraine must become neutral and does not persist as a proxy for aggression by the US and NATO, that the democratic rights of Russophone Ukrainians must be respected and that the Russian nationality in the Donbas region (Donetsk and Lugansk) must exercise the right of self-determination up to secession in the way Ukraine could peaceably separate from the Soviet Union.
There are those who demand in the name of revolutionary principle that Russia must unilaterally cease and desist from waging war against Ukraine. How can it do so, in compliance with its own previous assertion that it has no intention of occupying and taking over Ukraine, in the face of the fact that the US and the Zelensky regime keep on boasting about escalating military supplies from the US and NATO and receiving USD 300 million and then another USD 40 billion worth of US military supplies in order to prolong the Russia-Ukraine conflict and to weaken and degrade Russia.
The US is deliberately trying to prolong the Ukraine-Russian armed conflict and push Poland to join the fray. The US objective is to weaken and degrade Russia and to expand and consolidate US control over the European Union and Eastern Europe. At the same time, it is unwittingly driving Russia and China to strengthen their back-to-back alliance, such strategic projects as the Eurasian Economic Union and the Belt and Road Initiative and further alliances as the BRICs and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
The anti-war movement of the proletariat and people must work harder to stop the aggressions of the US and NATO before the anti-war movement within Russia and Ukraine can persuade effectively the former to stop its military operations against the latter because it has already degraded the military capabilities of Ukraine and is already attacking the new military supplies from the US and NATO.
US Threats of Aggression in Korea
It is pertinent to discuss the case of South Korea, in which US imperialism also stands as a foreign master of the puppet state and which actively prevents the peaceful reunification of the entire Korean nation governed by the Republic of Korea in the South and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the North. It has taken such a long time that US imperialism has unjustly prevented the reunification of the Korean nation and unleashed all kinds of embargoes and military provocations against the North since the Armistice in 1953.
War has so far been averted because the governments of the South and North have taken initiatives to negotiate and make certain incremental agreements with each other. But of course US imperialist control of the South Korean puppet republic is still very much manifest in so many ways, including the persistence of US military forces in South Korea and the military exercises aimed at intimidating the DPRK.
The US harbors the illusion that it can use a combination of hard and soft tactics, including economic sanctions and baits, joint US-ROK military exercises and intermittent peace negotiations, to hold the DPRK at bay and eventually entice it to reunify with the South under the terms of capitalism and subordination to the US and the south Korean puppets. Because the US has long become aware that it cannot conquer the DPRK, it dreams of being able to persuade the DPRK to follow the US-ROK terms of reunifying Korea.
But the DPRK has been guided by its principles of juche and songun. It has stood for full national independence and socialism and has strong national defense, including nuclear weapons and missiles. By itself, the DPRK has nuclear weapons to neutralize and put in a stalemate the nuclear weapons of the US and its traditional imperialist allies. Moreover, the traditional imperialist powers cannot wage a nuclear war against DPRK without destroying South Korea and substantial parts of the new imperialist powers, Russia and China.
The balance among the nuclear powers of East Asia is such that not a single one can afford to be reckless or give itself small margins of safety. The inability of the US to use the nuclear weapons against DPRK and China have long been proven since 1949 when the Soviet Union broke the nuclear monopoly of the US and in the course of the US war of aggression against Korea when US President Truman and the strategic advisers rebuffed the recommendation of General Douglas MacArthur to use the nuclear weapons.
Nevertheless the US set up the THAAD missile system in South Korea, which currently hosts over 28,000 US troops, in order to threaten both DPRK and China. And yet it is the one relentlessly using propaganda to misrepresent the DPRK and China as being aggressive and reckless in East Asia. It plays up the missile tests of the DPRK to exaggerate its nuclear capabilities.
And since its strategic pivot to the East Asia region in 2012 during the time of Obama, it has fretted over and tried to cut down and undermine China’s economic and military rise. In this regard, it has taken advantage of the baseless claims of China over 90 per cent of the South China Sea and the border disputes with India to show that China is aggressive. Since the time of the Trump regime, it has carried out a trade war against China, going to the extent of drastically cutting imports from China and shifting investments from China to India and elsewhere.
China pleads to the US to retain it as a neoliberal capitalist partner but the US has decided to undermine and cut it down for being the No. 1 economic competitor and political rival. China has brought discredit to itself by claiming more than 90 percent of the South China Sea and has provoked a strong reaction from the Western powers by proclaiming that its Belt and Road Initiative is meant to displace their maritime superiority since the 16th century.
The US and corporate press play up China as threatening to “invade” Taiwan. And they go to the extent of depicting the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) of the US, Japan, Australia and India as the NATO equivalent in Asia and Taiwan as the Ukraine of Asia under the threat of China as a giant aggressor. But in the case of Taiwan, the US has long conceded in the Shanghai Communique that Taiwan is part of China.
In the months and years to come, we expect tensions to arise and re-arise in the East Asia-Pacific region down to the Indian Ocean in the Indo-Pacific route, with US imperialism trying in the name of freedom of navigation to counter Chinese imperialist expansionism in the Pacific region. Biden has proclaimed the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework in order to reinforce its dominance over the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement and to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
At the same time, the US is continuing efforts to shift manufacturing investments from China to India, Vietnam and other East Asian countries, to cut down the trade surpluses and surplus capital that China can use for expansion and thus undermine the debt-burdened Chinese economy and its Belt Road Initiative.
It is not only in Europe and in the East Asia-Pacific regions where tensions and the danger of inter-imperialist war looms. US imperialism is trying in vain to stop its strategic decline. It has lost its status as the sole superpower in an increasingly multipolar world since the 2008 financial crash developed into a global economic depression.
The US will continue to stir up tensions, trouble spots, proxy wars and calculated incidents of direct inter-imperialist encounters in Central Asia, West Asia, South Asia, North Africa, southern Africa and Latin America. The inter-imperialist contradictions are coming to the surface and to the fore in many regions and areas.
The point has been reached that the imperialist powers themselves are seeing more frequently their direct collisions because the neoliberal policy of imperialist globalization and taking superprofits from extractive enterprises and arms sales; and the neoconservative policy of promoting state terrorism, fascism and wars of aggression mainly at the expense of the oppressed peoples and nations are unravelling.
The intensifying inter-imperialist contradictions are also inflaming and generating the contradictions between monopoly capital and labor in the imperialist countries, between the imperialist powers and the oppressed peoples and nations and between the imperialist powers and states that are independent, democratic and have socialist programs and aspirations. On the basis of these intensifying contradictions, various types of anti-imperialist, anti-fascist and anti-war forces and alliances can be built and strengthened in order to avert and counter imperialist domination, fascism and wars of aggression.
The tendency of the traditional imperialist powers headed by the US and the new imperialist powers like China and Russia to aggravate the crisis of the world capitalist system and threaten the proletariat and people of the world with the rise of fascism and wars of aggression can be countered by the anti-imperialist, anti-fascist and anti-war movements of the proletariat and people within the imperialist countries themselves and by the assertion and realization of national and social liberation by the oppressed peoples and nations in the underdeveloped countries and by the states that are anti-imperialist and democratic and have socialist programs and aspirations.