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Capitalism and the British Elections

The presumed Rightist electoral victory in Britain, Toryism embracing the Conservative and Labour parties alike, may well prove a blessing in disguise, specifically, for driving a wedge into the global Western counterrevolutionary posture headed by the United States in its confrontation with Russia and China. There is a logic to geopolitical Reaction, ever fearful of socialist and/or popular currents of dissent and social change. Hence, the Cold War, and now its renewal.

It doesn’t require a Trotskyite mental set to appreciate the potential threat to world capitalism found in Cameron’s semi-autarkic stance with respect to the European Union, ultimately disruptive of the unified response needed to carry out America’s paradigm of international military, financial, and commercial hegemony, Britain its trusted partner.

Britain’s Toryism, obviously complementary to US capitalist fundamentalism, has overreached its intended role as vital, yet subordinate, to Western (aka, American) structural-ideological dominance of the world system. Why? First, because its newly-energized opposition to EU monetary and trade policies, viewed as restrictive of British expansionist claims, undermines the Union’s political-economic status in dealing with rival power centers (the much-feared decline of Europe in the face of changing global patterns), a psychological loss not to be taken lightly which only compounds resentment at the hand Cameron and Britain are playing. But second, still more important, the British move away from its participation in the Union portends dire military consequences for the Grand Alliance, i.e., marshaling support for market forces in the face of increasing socialist, nationalist, and just autonomous aspirations struggling for expression in Latin America, Asia, and Africa—with China and Russia forming a congenial setting and background for these endeavors.

Why, therefore, dire military consequences? Simply because the EU, its economic importance notwithstanding, is a surrogate, cover, stand-in, all at once, for NATO, in sum, a military alliance system, anticommunist (as that term has evolved over the decades) in inspiration, the Praetorian Guard keeping America safe from heathenish enemies lurking in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East, not to say all of the Usual Suspects. Under US intervention, NATO has been stretched to its limits, so that in keeping with Cameron’s vision even that strand of cooperation is breaking down or wearing thin.

Cameron, more effectively than the almost nonexistent American Left, is nibbling away at US global supremacy, for what is America without the seeming legitimacy of NATO (and Far Eastern alliance systems)? Its power may be undiminished, but it would stand for what it essentially is in any case, without the covering fig leaf of liberal rhetoric: an unrestrained bully incapable of mutuality in world affairs. Yes, Cameron is becoming the unwanted bull in the china shop, only America does not yet realize it.

Scotland may well be instrumental in unraveling the West’s power concentration, this because quite obviously forcing Britain either to reveal its own repressive side or further watch its declining world position. In either case, the EU will have to re-think its military dimensions and might even decide on a more constructive role in world citizenship. For autarkism, to whatever degree Cameron is able to carry it, has a dynamic all its own, giving urgency to the search for peace—or risk a state of nuclear war.

It is anybody’s guess what America would do with the weakening or disintegration of EU/NATO. My own sense is that of more spirited confrontation with Russia and China, having the effect of driving them closer together, and with them, a drastic realignment of the global structure, isolating America further, and possibly without a unified Western Europe to lean on. Obama’s current pressures on behalf of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, aimed at the encirclement and weakening of China, is done with one eye on developments in Europe. He can count on Cameron, East and West, but like most of American foreign policy, still working from self-aggrandizing assumptions no longer tenable on the world scene.

Norman Pollack has written on Populism. His interests are social theory and the structural analysis of capitalism and fascism. He can be reached at pollackn@msu.edu.

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Norman Pollack Ph.D. Harvard, Guggenheim Fellow, early writings on American Populism as a radical movement, prof., activist.. His interests are social theory and the structural analysis of capitalism and fascism. He can be reached at pollackn@msu.edu.

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