By Captain Danilo P. Vizmanos, PN (Ret.)
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan
The findings of a research committee of the Japan Council against Atom and Hydrogen Bombs reveal that the atomic bombing by US military aircraft in August 1945 caused the death of about 200,000 persons in Hiroshima and 122,000 in Nagasaki. Almost all of them were civilians and noncombatants.
Under the rules of war and laws of civilized society this massive killing of defenseless and innocent human beings must be judged not only as a “crime against humanity” but also an act of genocide.
Had the United States lost the war its leaders would have faced a Nuremberg-type trial and given a verdict of maximum punishment. The fact that it won the war does not, in any way, absolve its leaders or erase the enormity and inhumanity of the crime. More important than the legal judgment is the moral verdict of history and posterity.
The unparalleled tragedies at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were inflicted by two atomic bombs of only 20 kilotons each. Today there are tens of thousands of nuclear warheads in arsenals and launching pads in the United States, Russia, Great Britain, France, China and other countries. Most of these warheads are in the megaton range which means that each one of them is at least fifty times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb. These nuclear stockpiles are more than enough to wipe out civilization several times over.
Way back in 1985 top scientists in the USSR Academy of Sciences analyzed the potential consequences of a nuclear war for the world’s socio-economic system. Their findings:
- The modern industrial-economic and socio-political systems of the confronting sides are much more vulnerable than their military systems. The former would therefore be the first to perish in the event of a nuclear war. They can be destroyed beyond repair with fewer nuclear weapons than what would be required for strictly military targets.
- A nuclear war assures that modern civilization in all its existing forms will be destroyed much earlier than the defeat of the enemy’s military forces. For this reason alone, all subsequent hostilities become pointless.
These revelations lead to three major conclusions: First, the main target in a nuclear war are people and their civilization, not the military system of states. For this reason, orientation to nuclear war means orientation to self-genocide. Second, since the socio-political and economic systems of states are defenseless in a nuclear war and would be the first to be destroyed, a nuclear war must be removed from the arsenal of international relations as a political instrument and outlawed. Third, any fundamental change in the understanding of the global situation requires corresponding changes in the mentality of all people, particularly in the mentality and policy-making stereotypes of politicians and military strategists.
Not content with the overkill capability of nuclear weapons, the industrial powers led by the United States continue to maintain stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction. Man’s ingenuity and capacity for self-destruction have indeed gone beyond the threshold of sanity
“New World Order”
Despite the mass of deceptive propaganda and disinformation being peddled regularly by the western-controlled media, the fact remains that the greatest danger to world peace today is the unrestricted application of military power by the United States as it seeks to perpetuate a “new world order” over the whole planet. American policy now dictates that US forces can launch preemptive military strikes against any country perceived as a threat to US security and global interests. This is how the White House and Pentagon justifies US military aggression against Cuba, Libya, Iran, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and North Korea. This is how they justify the acts of genocide by US military forces against the peoples of Vietnam and Yugoslavia. It does not matter that such aggressions were violations of international law, the United Nations Charter and the Geneva Conventions.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union the US has assumed the role of an imperious world government dictating imperialist policies and edicts for implementation by junior partners, puppet governments and even by the United Nations.
In the Asia-Pacific region successive Japanese governments have consistently danced to the music of US imperialism. The US-Japan Security Treaty and Defense Cooperation Agreement are the instruments by which the political warmongers, the economic oligarchy and a resurgent military hierarchy seek to resurrect Japanese imperialism and the modern version of the “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.”
In the Philippines the US has recently imposed a Philippine-US Visiting Forces Agreement that restores US military presence in the country. The Filipino people oppose and condemn this agreement because of its one-sided, unjust, onerous and deceptive provisions. They make a mockery of Philippine sovereignty and justice system, violate the constitutional ban on nuclear weapons, and spawn social, moral, health and environmental problems. Through this agreement US military forces and the Japanese Self-Defense Forces can now apply the modern version of “gunboat diplomacy” through joint military exercises in Southeast Asia. These military exercises are primarily intended as a show of force to intimidate, suppress or neutralize the people’s struggle and liberation movements particularly in underdeveloped regions.
The Limitations of Power
Being the sole conductor of the “new world order orchestra,” the United States now expects all orchestra members to adhere to the musical score and follow the movements of her baton.
In reality, however, forcing compliance with the rules of the game is easier said than done. The power in the hands of even a superpower is not absolute. In order to achieve what is desired there must be a skillful and proportionate application of the three major components of power — political, economic and military. Among these three components the less tangible political factor is perhaps the least understood and appreciated. But in almost all cases it comes out as the dominant and decisive factor in the equation of power.
The United States has the most powerful economic and military machine in the world. But this machine is not flawless and does not have a lifetime guarantee. Its principal limitation is that it is made up of socially interacting and politically sensitive parts. What appears to be a formidable machine is subject to the stresses of domestic popular reaction and unexpected impact of external factors and hazards.
The American experiences in China, Korea and Vietnam illustrate most vividly the limitations of power. Advance detachments of the world’s most powerful military machine were forced to withdraw from Lebanon and Somalia because unacceptable military casualties created adverse political repercussions at the home front.
Despite the threat and actual use of force, the superpower has not been able to impose its will and effect the collapse of what it perceives as the “evil regimes” in North Korea, Cuba, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Kampuchea, Angola and Afghanistan.
A certain Professor Fukuyama was widely quoted by the western-controlled media to have said that the collapse of the Soviet Union marks the “end of history!” This is a metaphorical way of saying that capitalism, not socialism, is the last socio-economic formation in the history of civilization.
Revolutionary and progressive forces were quick to counter that it was not socialism, but Soviet revisionism and deviation from socialist doctrine that caused the internal collapse of the Soviet Union. They added that contrary to the “end of history” thesis, the so-called “new world order” under US hegemony is rapidly being eroded by the worsening crisis of capitalism exacerbated by overproduction and declining demand and purchasing power of blatantly exploited, dispossessed and marginalized peoples in all countries. The devastating effect of imperialist globalization, deregulation, neo-liberalization, privatization and other US-IMF-WB-WTO impositions on “third world” countries has actually unleashed what Professor Jose Ma. Sison aptly describes as a “new world disorder.”
Progressive minds contend that the most formidable threat to the “new world order” is not the “evil regimes” of socialist-oriented and non-conformist countries nor the alleged capability of Baghdad or Pyongyang to manufacture weapons of mass destruction. The real threat, they assert, is the inability of the capitalist system to resolve the antagonistic contradictions in society, specifically, between the oppressor class and the oppressed classes, and between the exploiting class and the exploited classes.
People’s Struggle Against Imperialist Globalization
The centerpiece of the “new world order” is the US-imposed “free market” globalization. It seeks to maximize the exploitation of markets, sources of raw materials and cheap labor in underdeveloped regions for the benefit of industrial powers led by US monopoly capital. It also benefits the political and economic elite of client states and puppet governments. But it has been a disaster to the broad masses especially members of the working class and the peasantry.
Due to irreconcilable contradictions the “new world order” is, in fact, generating an epidemic of new world disorders. Foremost is the people’s upheaval in Indonesia that led to the downfall of the US-supported 33-year regime of Suharto. In the Philippines two presidents beholden to US imperialist interests were toppled from their pedestals by massive people’s power despite threats of US military intervention and show of force through joint Philippine-US military exercises. Social unrest and political convulsions are increasing and intensifying in many parts of Asia, Africa, Latin America and even Europe.
As a consequence the imperial ruling circles in the US, Japan and NATO countries are now confronted with a rising tide of people’s disaffection, resistance and rebellion. It is virtually a revolt of an enlightened and long-suffering humanity against the disastrous effects of imperialist globalization and onerous impositions of international monopoly capital.
The imperialist solution to the worsening social and political crisis in many countries is to increase the presence, visibility and direct application of military power against what it perceives as enemies of the “new world order.” Despite its sad and tragic experiences in Vietnam, Cuba, Iran, Lebanon and Somalia, the US power elite is still trying to prove that sophisticated “machine-oriented” military power is superior and will always prevail over the broad spectrum of people’s struggle. The arrogance of power is the blinder that prevents the policy makers in Washington to appreciate the saying that political and military wisdom is enhanced through recognition of the limitations of war machines, no matter how modern, and awareness of the unlimited potential of a people’s struggle.
In the intensifying people’s struggle against imperialism and forces of reaction, international cooperation and solidarity is an imperative. This is because of the dominant political nature of any conflict. As Karl von Clausewitz once said, “War is merely an extension of politics. Policy is the intelligent faculty, war only the instrument, not the reverse. The subordination of the military view to the political is, therefore, the only thing possible.”
Revival of “Brinkmanship”
It appears that Clausewitz’s maxim has yet to be fully appreciated by US President George Bush, State Secretary Colin Powell and a Republican-controlled Congress. Instead of international cooperation they have revived the “brinkmanship” approach and confrontational policies of warhawk John Foster Dulles during the early “cold war” period. The idea is to foment local and regional discords, tensions and “flash points” that would justify US military intervention and concomitant arms buildup, proliferation of lucrative defense contracts and expansion of armament production.
The US military-industrial complex of which the Republican Party is a principal exponent has stepped up the tempo of promoting its corporate and vested interests. Its jingoist machinations disguised as exigencies of national defense (read: defense of global imperialist interests) complement the relentless economic globalization thrust of the monopoly capitalist system. What should concern the peoples of all countries, the US included, is that a revival of brinkmanship by the Bush administration steers the imperialist “ship of state” towards dangerous waters with dire implications not only to the community of nations but to humanity itself.
Among the main points of President Bush’s confrontational agenda are the following:
- A critical review of all current policies and agreements with China and continuation of provocative flights of US spy planes along China’s periphery.
- Sale of modern and sophisticated weapons systems to the Taiwan government as a way of provoking China and increasing tension in East and Southeast Asia.
- Tightening of the total blockade around Cuba and stepped-up military intervention in Latin America in the guise of anti-narcotic operations.
- Continuing negative and adversarial attitude towards Pyongyang and setting up of obstacles to Korean reunification.
- Unwavering support of Ariel Sharon’s bellicosity towards the PLO and Arab allies and flouting of UN resolutions calling for Israeli withdrawal from Arab lands.
- Spawning of another arms race through a highly controversial and politically destabilizing missile defense system.
A cause for serious concern over the international situation today is the impotence and inability of states and governments to dissuade the Bush administration from pursuing confrontational and brinkmanship policies and provocations for the benefit of corporate and vested interests of the military-industrial complex. It is this inutility of state and government leaders and decision makers that makes it imperative and urgent to initiate a call for action by the most politically advanced echelons of society — the progressive and revolutionary forces. On their shoulders fall the historic task of preventing wars of self-destruction and perennial imperialist-instigated conflicts that sap and exhaust the productive forces — both material and human resources — of nations.
Worldwide expansion and intensification of peoples’ struggle in all forms is the most appropriate and effective response to unmitigated superpower machinations and imperialist aggression. It is this “war of the flea” that, in the long haul, will drain the blood of predatory imperialism, cause its debilitation, paralyzation, convulsion and collapse, and lead to the realization of a truly just and lasting peace for all mankind!