Imperialism threatens humanity: Global War and Global Warming
Two great threats hang over humanity. Both global war and global warming loom closer than ever before. Both threats are born from the innate greed of the system of capitalism/imperialism which exploits, oppresses and destroys the lives of countless millions, and despoils and wrecks the planet with no regard for the future.
President Trump has announced that US imperialism will dramatically increase its military spending by US$54 billion on planes, ships, missiles and armed forces, as well as acquiring a whole new generation of nuclear weapons. This will likely trigger another arms race, with only US industrial-military-finance capital standing to gain, and more people thrown into poverty and destitution. It will be “America First!” and bugger the rest of you!
There was also the blunt warning to so-called ‘allies’, including the subservient Australian government, that they had better carry more of the financial costs of supporting US forces or the USA would cut them out.
As the local ‘Deputy Sheriff’ of US imperialism, Australia’s government had already got this message when former Prime Minister Gillard bowed to US pressure and ‘invited’ US marines to set up shop in Darwin at a cost to taxpayers of $2 billion. And since then, the Australian governments (Liberal and Labor) have poured billions of dollars into purchasing US equipment (such as the shonky F35 Joint Strike Fighter at $120 million each), and placing ships, planes and military personnel at the disposal of the US Pacific Command.(They call it inter-operability!)
While this gets all the publicity, not much is said about the secretive Pine Gap spy base and military communications hub in Central Australia. This is vital to US imperialism’s war planning and preparation and a prime nuclear target in a full-scale war. Thus, the US Alliance and the much-quoted ANZUS Treaty are more likely to threaten the Australian people than to protect them from imaginary enemies.
In the ‘belly of the beast’
But this announcement from Trump was more than just being his usual big-noting loud-mouth. It was the considered position of that section of the US ruling class currently in positions of political power, including the top-level military brass and CIA giving advice and directions to the Trump gang. It reflects the desperation of US imperialism to maintain its hegemony and the desperation of US corporate monopolies and arms manufacturers to maintain their rate of profits.
For the American working class and large sections of working people it means more austerity. As announced by Trump, government spending on basic healthcare, education and social services will be cut back from already low levels.
Nor will Trump’s aggressive economic policies generate the promised return of American manufacturing jobs, and may, in fact, endanger existing jobs in trade sensitive industries. This would leave a lot of Trump voters bitter and angry, and perhaps more ready to join the growing waves of popular opposition.
In spite of increasingly fascist laws and para-military repression by the federal and state governments in the USA, millions of Americans have bravely continued to express their rejection of the Trump agenda. They have the warm support and well wishes of many millions around the globe, and their struggle ‘in the belly of the beast’ contributes to the world-wide struggle against US imperialism.
Climate warming – Coal and Gas
More evidence is emerging of the continuing impact of climate warming caused by fossil fuel greenhouse gases. Rising sea levels, ocean warming and disrupted climate patterns endangers global human populations, food supplies and the natural environment.
In our part of the world, Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased 7.5% since the 2014 scrapping of the carbon price. Kelly O’Shanassy, chief executive of the Australian Conservation Foundation said,"This latest data provides more evidence Turnbull government policies that are supposedly designed to cut Australia's climate pollution are simply not doing the job.”
She went on to criticise the federal government for planning to grant the notorious Indian-owned Adani Corporation a $1 billion loan to build a railway line to haul coal from its Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin in Queensland to a upgraded port at Abbot Point on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef.
The federal government has also proposed that the resources of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, originally established to finance renewable energy projects such as wind farms and solar power, be turned over to funding new coal-fired power stations and the speculative carbon capture and underground storage system.
For the Australian people, the cost of electricity and gas continues to rise as the privatised power industry corporations rake in huge profits from the export of gas and manipulation of the electricity market.
Climate warming – Great Barrier Reef The future of the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef is in danger due to massive coral bleaching caused by heat stress.
As the water warms, corals expel the algae that produce most of the energy needed to grow and reproduce, leaving them bleached and struggling to survive. Last year up to 80% of the northern parts of the Reef suffered the worst bleaching on record. Further south, bleaching is effecting sections untouched before.
Climate warming – Antarctic sea ice
A new record minimum for the amount of sea ice around Antarctica this summer is 10% less than the previous record set in 1914.
According to Ian Simmonds, from the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne, the loss of sea ice is 1.2 million square kilometres less than 2015 – or about the size of NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.
With sea ice at lower levels in both the Arctic and Antarctic, more of the oceans are exposed to solar radiation rather than reflecting it back to space. The warming of the oceans accelerates, affecting fish populations and the important ocean currents which stabilise continental climate patterns.
Last days of the Empire
In an historical sense, capitalism/imperialism is a doomed system. The leading force, US imperialism, is thrashing around in crisis, unable to achieve its ambitions through lop-sided trade deals with other countries and increasingly dependent on war and military investment to save its economy.
Trump’s ditching of the Trans Pacific Partnership was an acknowledgement of the strength of opposition to US domination of international trade and sovereign economies. Imperialism will still try to pick off individual countries one by one, but can no longer get it all its own way, as it was able to do through the WTO and GATT.
In the immediate term, imperialist wars and climate warming will continue to create misery for millions of people, adding to an already global crisis of desperate refugees. Only the defeat of US imperialism and the building of socialism can save the planet for humanity and put an end to war.