Saturday, November 19, 2022

The Essential Nature of the Conflict: Part Two


The Essential Nature of the Conflict: Part Two

Peter Schultz


            In the first part of this essay, I made the argument that the Cold War, for example, was a cover meant to hide the essential nature of the conflict between the global capitalist classes and those opposed to them. By implication, this conflict was and is the real conflict going on in the world, not, for example, “the West” versus “the communists.” So, the Cold War was created to hide this conflict and its implications.


            But there was and is another dimension to the Cold War and that was to help advance the agenda of the global capitalist classes. And this worked as follows.


            It was a criticism of the US’s involvement in Vietnam that the military objective was never clearly stated. As Fletcher Prouty put it, “Gen. Creighton Abrams asked the central question of President Johnson,” viz., “what [is] this country’s strategic objective…in Indochina.” But he got no answer from Johnson or anyone else, which meant “the best men like Abrams and Westmoreland could do was wallow in the quagmire of indecision while counting bodies on both sides.” [p. 239]


            But while there wasn’t such a strategic objective, there were political objectives. That is, with the advent of what was and is called counterinsurgency warfare or limited warfare, “the military would be used to further ‘political stability, economic growth, and social change….’” [Prouty. 183] This was, according to Prouty, “a totally revolutionary role for the US military.” [ibid] And many in the military, especially the Joint Chiefs, wanted no part of being “Cold Warriors.” They wanted to remain military people and did not want the military to become the means of furthering “political stability, economic growth, and social change.” And, of course, these terms, “political stability, economic growth, and social change” are empty terms. What kind of “political stability?” Certainly, not the kind of stability created by traditional village life in Vietnam. What kind of “economic growth?” Again, traditional village life in Vietnam would have to disappear in order to get a growing economy because village life was utterly unconcerned with and even rejected such growth. What kind of “social change?” Of course, these changes would look to displace traditional village life, perhaps replacing that life with a life characterized by workers manufacturing sneakers for the Nike corporation.  


            You can see where this is going. That the military was to be converted from a purely military organization to another kind of organization – one, as Prouty points out, that Mao made famous in his writings – that would serve to advance a particular agenda, viz., the agenda of the global capitalist classes. As the result of such a conversion, wars should be limited and need not be “won.” As Prouty puts it: “In Vietnam the United States won precisely nothing, but that costly war served the primary purposes of the world’s power elites. For one thing, they benefitted splendidly from the billions of dollars that came their way. For example, more than ten million men were flown from the United States to Saigon by contract commercial airline flights, representing more than $800 million in windfall business for those airlines.” [p. 235] And, as Prouty points out, “As the progression of events in Central America has demonstrated, the tactics of Vietnam have become the method of dealing with the problems of less-developed countries in the bipolar world.” [ibid] “Dealing with the problems of less-developed nations,” however, seems less than accurate insofar as the global capitalist classes seek to replace one set of such problems with another set of problems, for example, recurring and great debt that serves the interests of our global capitalist classes. 


            Another result of such an agenda is that the CIA gained power within the US government. Again, Prouty: “The US military establishment was neither designed nor prepared to engage in peacetime covert operations, nor did it wish to. As a result, this type of activity remained with the CIA by default.” Given its limitations though, which are insufficient to wage clandestine warfare on its own, the CIA can only incite incidents that subsequently require further US action, either through the military or through proxies, the latter of which leads to the US joining forces with the likes of jihadists and other less than reputable actors. And so the “New World Order,” the world order the global capitalist classes are seeking to create, begins to look less like a just order and more like an order resting on injustice and repression. It is certainly not a peaceful order, unless of course it succeeds in repressing all its “insurgents,” which seems unlikely.

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