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Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote

The collapse of world markets is telling evidence of capitalism’s stake in maintaining a renewed Cold War, indispensable to its logic of global confrontation as a sustaining developmental force and dependence on a disproportionate, heavy-laden defense sector for America and drawing in its allies. The European Union, historically, was first and foremost the economic underpinning to solidify NATO, itself from first to last an obviously military alliance. Together, EU and NATO represented America’s stalking horse in its posture of world intervention and counterrevolution. Obama’s “pivot” to the Far East, his Pacific-first geostrategic framework, complements and extends the US geopolitical vision of global, unilateral dominance—military, ideological, economic.

With Britain’s vote, we see a magnificent—even if Britons voted on other grounds—objective determination to put a roadblock into the American Grand Design of universalizing its own brand of monopoly capitalism (and heading off a projected nuclear holocaust), in which systemic financialization erodes and supplants the US manufacturing base via outsourcing, foreign investment, and securing predictable sources of raw materials, including of course oil.

Consternation and worse reigns supreme in both the capitalist and defense communities, the architectural splendor of simultaneous containment, even isolation, of Russia and China, now on hold, yet hardly surrendered, as America, for its own self-identity, reified the idea of the Pervasive Enemy to accompany its doctrine of Permanent War. Blowback, after all, has some validity, as America’s warmongers pressed too far: Obama’s modernization of the nuclear arsenal, provocative incursion in the South China Sea, pressures on NATO to occupy the borderlands of Russia. Whether or not inadvertent, Britons have thwarted the US move toward the greater fascistization of a once-democratic polity, yet no longer recognizable as such.

How will America react to the British vote? Probably by intensifying, as is already happening, its Cold War rhetoric, and translating that into more aggressive policies of containment vis-a-vis a growing list of enemies presumed waiting in the wings. Counterterrorism, which has become a catch-all for creating a mindset for ideological conformity, will be a useful instrument for confusing radicalism and terrorism, in order to suppress the former as in Latin America and Africa. Secretly, I suspect, American policy makers hoped for the Britain-EU outcome, so as to beef up European defenses, continue the rearming (encouragement of a nuclear capability) of Abe’s Japan, and feel relief in pursuing the abominable policy of armed drone targeted assassination.

My Comment in The New York Times on Erlanger’s article, “Britain Votes to Leave E.U.,” follows:

Delighted! There has been such evasiveness about the meaning of the campaign. British exit from the EU is a vote AGAINST the renewed Cold War. The elephant in the room is NATO. Obviously, the EU is its economic counterpart, and was never conceived in isolation as a mere trading bloc.

With Britain out, hopefully others will follow, the EU will tighten its ship as an economic union and NATO, now presently at Russia’s borders, will be forced to rethink its dangerous course.

Britain did the right thing, even if only intuitively; for only in the defense establishment of the West was the true nature of the vote, and its implications, discussed. Yes, if NATO unravels, along with an EU unravelling, the world will be a step closer to peace and the avoidance of a nuclear holocaust.

I’m ashamed that Corbyn didn’t see this, or worse, did, but has been less than frank. Now, Britain, for the first time since the end of World War II, can break its dependence on the US and perhaps,just perhaps, lead the world on a middle course away from bipolarization.

I am thrilled by the results–the ticking clock toward WAR has been slowed down, until perhaps good sense can prevail.

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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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