A peoples diplomacy for a dangerous world

 
BY:Communist Party USA| July 26, 2018
A peoples diplomacy for a dangerous world

 

It’s been clear for some time that the world demands a public, working-class and people’s diplomacy aimed at a new international order, free of capitalist and military trade blocs that inherently breed tension and war: that’s one lesson that can be drawn from the now postponed summit between Trump and Putin.

Indeed, lost in the sound and fury surrounding the Helsinki Summit and the proposed D. C. meeting is the ongoing imperative for such summits. Although the world still doesn’t know what happened during the secret Trump-Putin meet – that does not lessen the need such exchanges: in fact it elevates it. There were real issues in Helsinki.

Let’s face it: the planet is in terrible danger. Need we count the ways?

Trump threatened recently to rain destruction on another country, this time on Iran with which his administration unceremoniously junked a nuclear weapons agreement.

Only a few weeks ago, a military standoff with North Korea seemed likely, with the potential for a nuclear conflagration.

Truth be told, it seems what was once deemed unthinkable is now being actively considered as an option by the occupants of the White House Situation Room.

If that weren’t enough, the nuclear danger is not the only existential crisis humanity faces.  They either don’t believe global warming exists or don’t care, as proven by the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate accord.

Framing these ominous developments are growing inter-imperialist rivalries, protectionism and the rise of extreme right governments and movements, both in the U.S. and the countries of the European Union, and between the U.S. and Russia.  The U.S. and NATO have given license to extreme right governments in Eastern Europe and and a fascist-tinged government in Ukraine.

Russia, too, is aiding and abetting right-wing forces in Europe and the U.S.,  Surrounded by NATO, they see supporting such elements as advancing their national interests due to their anti-NATO and anti-EU positions,  a dangerous and irresponsible game.

Our country is led by the most dangerous political party in history and a resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue who uses white supremacy as his central organizing tool and who aligns himself with neo-fascists. Trump is waging a sustained assault on democracy at home and abroad.

Trump, since gaining office, has greatly escalated world tensions and stepped up military intervention.  Under the guise of the “war on terror,” drone strikes have doubled and the number of civilian deaths has skyrocketed by some 200 percent. Covert intervention has been stepped up in Venezuela, Nicaragua and the Middle East, with prospects for a Israel-Palestine peace accord between nil and next to none.

Trump and the ruling class elements behind his administration have set themselves the task of rearranging the international order: this more than anything else is behind their Group of 7 and NATO disruptions.

The administration’s goals are no more benign with respect to the recent meetings with Kim Jung-un and Vladimir Putin. Let’s be clear, the Korea summit was held largely at the initiative of South Korea.  And despite the two Koreas agreeing to an historic “end of war,” the summit’s results remain in doubt because of Trump’s brinkmanship.

Make no mistake: with Trump there is no peace presidency

And consider this: the meeting with Putin may have had a hidden target: isolating China and reversing its growing international influence.

Make no mistake: with Trump there is no peace presidency.

Yet, even in these circumstances, indeed because of them, talks, negotiations, and summits are necessary, including dialogue between Trump and Putin. Calls to cancel the summit are misguided. So too are dismissals of the problems at work in Helsinki  and rejection of concerns about these problems as simply the consequence of deep state conspiracies.

Once talks begin, processes are set in motion that open up possibilities that would otherwise be closed, possibilities that are sometimes independent of the parties’ respective intentions.

Why? Because other state actors, interest groups, and international institutions, along with business, government, labor, and civil society become involved. And therein lies the future.

Movements like the Sao Paulo Forum and the World Social Forums have been important steps in this direction.

International cooperation is needed now more than ever. This must include elevating the role of the United Nations which has largely been pushed to the sidelines.

Needless to say such cooperation must include signing on to the Paris Climate Accord.

The crisis in the U.S. demands that the people’s protest and peace movements be stepped up

And last but not least, the urgency of the crisis in the U.S. demands that the people’s protest and peace movements be stepped up. A march on Washington and state capitals around the country demanding action around issues like separating children from their parents, the Supreme Court, right-to-work and yes, peace, are in order.

The coming Washington summit must be free of secret meetings. This is particularly important in light of alleged Putin-Trump financial shenanigans.

The summit should include a public townhall meeting where issues of  concern are debated, including interventions in the internal affairs of other nations.

If the summit reaches an agreement for renewing the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, that would be a positive development.

In the U.S., all signs point to a massive people’s march to the ballot box. Whether or not the next summit will produce positive results is unclear.  What is clear is that is that it’s up to the American people to keep the pressure on.

Image: Creative Commons 3.0

Image: Creative Commons 3.o

Image: Creative Commons 3.0

Editor’s Note. This article was updated with a new title.

Author

    The Communist Party USA is a working class organization founded in 1919 in Chicago, IL.

    The Communist Party stands for the interests of the American working class and the American people. It stands for our interests in both the present and the future. Solidarity with workers of other countries is also part of our work. We work in coalition with the labor movement, the peace movement, the student movement, organizations fighting for equality and social justice, the environmental movement, immigrants rights groups and the health care for all campaign.

    But to win a better life for working families, we believe that we must go further. We believe that the American people can replace capitalism with a system that puts people before profit — socialism.

    We are rooted in our country's revolutionary history and its struggles for democracy. We call for "Bill of Rights" socialism, guaranteeing full individual freedoms.

Comments (2)

bobbie | August 17, 2018 at 8:38 PM

I don’t know what you mean by “the Russia-gate card.” Trump doesn’t need to go after Russia to drum up war. He’s been doing that quite well without it. He has been bombing and invading around the world, making huge increases in the military budget, proposing the expansion of the military forces to space, etc.
BTW, Imperialism is not a policy; it’s a stage of capitalism. Why insist that China be so described, while Russia, which is undeniably a capitalist country, escapes that definition?
It’s hard for me to understand the lack of outrage about capitalists – whether they be from Russia or the U.S. – interfering and disenfranchising U.S. working class voters. Why would a working class partisan back up Trump’s claim that this attack on our working class and people is “fake news”? Just a small example: a report from the Journalism Dept. at the Univ. of Wisconsin Madison reveals that a week before the 2016 election , a Russian group paid for Facebook ads aimed at African –Americans (they targeted those interested in African-American history, the civil civil rights movement, ML King and Malcolm X) with an ad urging them to boycott the election. “No one represents Black people. Don’t go to vote, ” the ad said. I think the capitalists who paid for that ad, be they American or Russian, deserve our outrage and resistance.

Bernie | August 16, 2018 at 10:18 PM

Comment re: “A People’s Diplomacy for a Dangerous World” 
          I disagree with several points raised in the Party’s August 2, 2018, statement, which plays the Russia-gate card and unwittingly gives credibility to those beating the war drums against Russia. 
          I call readers’ attention to several passages that appear in the statement.         “Framing these ominous developments are growing inter-imperialist rivalries, protectionism and the rise of extreme right governments and movements, both in the US and the countries of the European Union, and between the US and Russia.” 
          What is meant by “between the US and Russia”? My guess is that the phrase refers to “inter-imperialist rivalries” between the two. What evidence is given that the “rivalries” are between two “imperialist” entities?  Has Russia now joined the imperialist club whose economy is smaller the Italy’s?  Why is China left out? Doesn’t China represent a significantly greater threat to US imperialism than does Russia?
          The next paragraph in the text

          “Russia, too is aiding and abetting right-wing forces in Europe and the   US” 

          But this statement is contradicted by a previous sentence: “The US and NATO have given license to extreme right governments in Eastern Europe and a fascist-tinged government in Ukraine.” (Of course, it’s more than “license.”) And to whom are these right-wing governments a threat to?     Of course Russia.
           What evidence has the Party provided that “Russia, too is aiding and abetting right-wing forces in Europe”?  (Russian wouldn’t do so in Eastern European countries. That’s the job of NATO and the US)  Perhaps the statement refers to the claim that Russia meddled in the recent French and German elections, supporting right-wing forces. 

          It’s useful to take a moment to examine how Aaron Maté, in his essay “Russia-gate Is More Fiction Than Fact” (Real News 10/6/17), interprets this issue, and to note, briefly, what two prominent newspapers have observed: 

           “Recent elections in France and Germany saw similar fears of Russian hacking and disinformation—and similar results. In France, a hack targeting the campaign of election winner Emmanuel Macron ended up having ‘no trace,’ of Russian involvement, and ‘was so generic and simple that it could have been practically anyone,’ the head of French cybersecurity quietly explained after the vote.

Germany faced an even more puzzling outcome: Nothing happened. ‘The apparent absence of a robust Russian campaign to sabotage the German vote has become a mystery among officials and experts who had warned of a likely onslaught,’ the Post reported in an article headlined ‘As Germans Prepare to Vote, a Mystery Grows: Where Are the Russians?’ The mystery was so profound that the New York Times also explored it, days later: ‘German Election Mystery: Why No Russian Meddling?’ ”  

To return to the Party statement: “Surrounded by NATO, they [Russia] see supporting such elements [except in Eastern European countries] as advancing their national interests due to their anti-NATO and anti-EU positions, a dangerous and irresponsible game.”
          Is it correct to say that Russia, because of “their  anti-NATO and anti-EU positions,” is playing “a dangerous and irresponsible game”?  Not NATO? NATO, after all, has been expanding its geographic reach and surrounding Russia, waging provocative war games at its borders, and buzzing US nuclear bombers to its borders 24/7. Is Russia, then, the aggressor, and poor NATO and the US the victim of this “dangerous and irresponsible game”?  
          Let’s examine a little history, as Conn Hallinan notes in his article. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details. ( Portside 7/27/18)

          “Unpacking all that requires a little history, which isn’t the media’s strong suit. [Neither, I would think, is it the forte of the authors of the Party’s statement.] The story goes back more than three decades to the fall of the Berlin Wall and eventual re-unification of Germany. At the time, the Soviet Union had some 380,000 troops in what was then the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany. Those forces were there as part of the treaty ending World War II, and the Soviets were concerned that removing them could end up threatening the USSR’s borders. The Russians have been invaded—at terrible cost —three times in a little more than a century.
          “So in the early 1990s, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, US Secretary of State James Baker, and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev cut a deal. The Soviets agreed to withdraw troops from Eastern Europe as long as NATO didn’t fill the vacuum, or recruit members of the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact. Baker promised Gorbachev that NATO would not move ‘one inch east.’
          “The agreement was never written down, but it was followed in practice. NATO stayed west of the Oder and Neisse rivers separating Germany and Poland, and Soviet troops returned to Russia. The Warsaw Pact was dissolved in 1991. [NATO, of course, remains.]
          “But President Bill Clinton blew that all up in 1999, when the US and NATO intervened in the civil war between Serbs and Albanians over the Serbian province of Kosovo. Behind the new American doctrine of ‘responsibility to protect,’ NATO opened a massive 11-week bombing campaign against Serbia.
          “From Moscow’s point of view, the war was unnecessary. The Serbs were willing to withdraw their troops and restore Kosovo’s autonomous status. But NATO demanded a large occupation force that would be immune from Serbian law, something the nationalist-minded Serbs would never agree to. It was virtually the same provocative language the Austrian-Hungarian Empire had presented to the Serbs in 1914, language that set off World War I.
          “In the end, NATO lopped off part of Serbia to create Kosovo and re-drew the post-World War II map of Europe, exactly what the Alliance charges today that Russia has done with its seizure of the Crimea.

          “But NATO didn’t stop there. In 1999 [again, under Clinton’s presidency], the Alliance recruited former Warsaw Pact members Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic, adding Bulgaria and Romania four years later. By the end of 2004, Moscow was confronted with NATO in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia to the North, Poland to the West, and Bulgaria and Turkey to the South. Since then, the Alliance has added Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, and Montenegro. It has invited Georgia, Ukraine, Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina to apply as well.
          “NATO . . . has deployed anti-missile systems in Poland, Romania, Spain, Turkey, and the Black Sea [aimed at Russia], and has a 12 to 1 advantage in military spending.”
          In 2009, Barack Obama initiated a $1.5 trillion nuclear weapons upgrade. Why? In any case, Russia responded in kind.
          The question our Party has not asked and should: for what purpose has NATO been encirculating   and escalating tension with Russia? After all, didn’t Boris Yeltsin, with President Clinton’s open interference, get elected to the presidency and then proceed to dismantle the Soviet Union and Socialism? And although Vladimir Putin–appointed by Yeltsin–is an avowed anti-Communist and pro-capitalist, – he is being demonized by the capitalist-controlled press. Why?  While leading a country whose economy is smaller than Italy’s, Putin is routinely described as “aggressive,” “revisionist,” and “expansionist.” Why?

          Shouldn’t the Russian people and the Russian Communist Party–never mind Putin–who would be the first victims in a nuclear conflagration, want to defend their country, even though it is governed by a pro-capitalist, from the menace at its door that NATO represents? Could we imagine, for one moment, the reaction of the United States if Russia stationed nuclear missiles pointing at North America?
          The US military-industrial complex, which promotes and profits from our permanent war economy, requires an adversary such as Russia–and Russia is the perfect foil–to justify a bloated military budget that diverts precious funds that should be used to meet the people’s needs, in order to carry on an aggressive policy of global domination. 
          In addition, in my opinion, the statement pays too little attention to the sharpening internal contradiction within the American ruling class.  Donald Trump’s meeting with North Korea’s leader Kim Jung-un in Singapore, and with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, could lead to the ratcheting down of the nuclear confrontation between our nation and theirs. Such an outcome, unfortunately, is not part of the military-industrial playbook. For this, if nothing else, Trump may be thrown under the bus.

          I am disappointed, to say the least, with the Party’s statement. As I said in the beginning, I believe the document feeds into the dangerous Russia-gate frenzy. The party leadership could, and should, do better.
Bernie

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