The talks between the US and its allies on the one hand, and Russia on the other, are even more important in themselves than their already very important agenda. They are taking place at a very critical juncture, a juncture which may evolve either towards the deepening of an already disastrous cold war, which could turn into a hot one and the destruction of humanity, or towards a defusing of tensions and the establishment of a process of applying the brake to and controlling the tension between the two nuclear superpowers and, subsequently, establishing a positive dynamic for improving relations between Russia and the West.
The direction in which US-Russian (and Euro-Russian) relations will move will have a great influence on all other “fronts” of our world. It will also influence very much the balance of power between, on the one hand, the reformist forces at the centre of the capitalist system, i.e. the group around Biden, and, on the other hand, the party of Fascism and war, i.e. the party of Trump, Netanyahu, Modi and Bolsonaro, whose predominance in the US and the “wider West” will sharply increase the chances of global catastrophe. (When we refer to Fascism, we certainly do not mean the mechanical repetition of the Hitler’s and Mussolini’s paradigms of the interwar period, but a phenomenon with many differences of course, but which comes to perform the same historical function in the final analysis. That is to appropriate the justified rebellion against the establishment and put it at the service of the more extremist tendencies of this same establishment, by the large-scale use of methods of deception).
That is an important reason why the US-Russian talks must end only with winners and with no losers.
The world after 1945
In the post-1945 world there is no possibility of winning a world conflict. Even the Cold War is a luxury, because the existential threats humanity is facing, unprecedented in history, not only nuclear ones, but also climate change, the biological threats, the threats from artificial intelligence and the collapse of biodiversity, and a host of others, require much greater global cooperation to deal effectively with them.
After 1945, humanity no longer has the ability acquired, developed and exercised from the Neolithic Revolution to the present day, namely the ability to play perpetual games of domination of one over another. The point is that the political leaders on the planet understand this today even less than they did 60 years ago, when Kennedy and Khrushchev had the courage to save us from disaster during the Cuban Missile Crisis, one probably paying for it with his life, the other probably with his job.
Then the military were ready to drop the bomb, but were held back by politicians and public pressure. Now public opinion has forgotten the terrifying dangers of nuclear weapons , with the help of totalitarian media and bought “intellectuals”, and politicians around the world prefer to deal with “current problems” instead of seeking difficult, painful solutions to the top issues of humanity, such as the dangers of nuclear weapons and also (black, not green!) nuclear energy, climate change and many others.
In contrast, today the military part of the global elites is more aware of the dangers threatening humanity, and is more serious in the way it addresses the problems. Perhaps this is so, because armies are more connected to societies and to the roots of the states created by the bourgeois (English, American, French etc.) and by the socialist (Russian, Chinese, etc.) revolutions, and to the historical rationality that permeated these revolutions, and are opposed to the global domination of financial Capital even over the most powerful states (‘globalisation’).
We saw this when the American military applied the brakes to the neo-conservative’s hysteria in the Middle East and especially Trump’s enthusiasm when he was planning the bombing of Syria and threatening North Korea. In contrast, the increasingly psychiatric cases of politicians, appointed to their posts by financial capital that is now increasingly cut off from production and society, understand neither the world they live in nor the issues they talk about.
In 1990 the problem of humanity was the monopolistic concentration of power in the hands of the world’s financial Capital and the USA, in a way very rare in all human history. The resistance of the peoples, the comeback of Russia and the meteoric rise of China solved this problem. They created a countervailing awe that forbids the realisation of the 1990s Western dream of untrammeled world domination.
The problem today is not the problem of 1990, but rather how to move from the present, extremely tense situation to a situation of cooperation, without either side feeling that they are losing: we know where Versailles-type solutions lead. And that requires a very high level of statesmanship from both Mr Biden and President Putin, and also from President Xi and from the leadership of Iran. We must move towards another global model for the distribution of power and decisions, without any power being hurt, and without any power feeling the need to resort to Hitler- and Mussolini-type “solutions” again.
It should be noted that whatever happens in the forthcoming talks between the Americans and the Russians, it is not so much their specific outcome, but the dynamics they will set up which will inevitably affect the other two fronts where the situation has been constantly oscillating, for years, between war and peace. It will affect the Middle East “front”, where the Israeli extremist adventurers, the partisans of the “strategy of chaos”, are always seeking a war against Iran, a war that one can hardly imagine remaining conventional. It will inevitably affect also Sino-American relations.
If US-Russian relations deteriorate further, and even if we manage to avoid a war that would ultimately be catastrophic for all of humanity, which is far from certain, such deterioration could have a very bad effect at a time when humanity seems to be playing catch-up, and is even threatened with extinction in the medium term. So serious are the problems today that they demand the rapid de-escalation of the Cold Wars with Russia and China, and the freezing of all wars in the Middle East and Africa. We have already been playing with fire for too many years.
It is true that the West today does not seem to have the means to dominate all of humanity, as it thought it would thirty years ago. But it has the means to take us all down with it in a desperate attempt to maintain its dominance.
As for the exponential economic and technological rise of China, one can understand the pride felt by this ancient nation and great civilisation, which only seventy years ago managed to end the age of humiliation with Mao’s great revolution. While its main problem throughout the Twentieth Century had been the bowl of rice, it competes today on equal terms with the American superpower and already has a larger GDP than the US.
One also understands the pride of the officers of the Red Army, the army that defeated Hitler, because Russia, after experiencing the humiliation of its veterans selling their Stalingrad and Leningrad medals on the markets to survive, after going through the era of the Great Plunder, and after experiencing the IMF reforms (the equivalent of a mid-level nuclear attack on Russia and the other Soviet states) has finally managed to get back on its feet.
Except that none of this will matter in the slightest if the world is lost in a nuclear winter, a climate warming or a new, more terrible pandemic.
That is why it is of the utmost importance not to miss the opportunity of Biden’s rise to the centre of Western power and to get a positive outcome from the talks. We hope but we do not know whether Mr Biden has the political space to commit himself to stopping NATO’s expansion, something that Russia could and should have asked for, and would certainly have received 30 years ago in return for its enormous concessions. But in light of Biden’s 2021 policies, we consider it highly unlikely that a Biden administration will push for Ukraine or Georgia to become NATO members. If the opposite current prevails tomorrow in the USA, then even if there is an agreement now, it will probably rescind it, as Trump did with the Iranian agreement.
Of course measures should be adopted to stop the transfer of military hardware to the ex-Soviet Republics and to protect the rights of the Russian populations in Ukraine. By the way the USA should do something with the unacceptable Ukrainian dictatorship, of a Latin American kind, they have imposed in Kiev, with the help and cooperation of the British secret services and commando units and of the Israelis, who, in an unbelievable act proving beyond doubt their degeneration, have armed the neo-nazi Azov militia.
On the other hand, it is certain that Mr Biden can and should negotiate a new binding framework for nuclear arms control in Europe.
The main problem is to launch a new positive course of reversing the negative momentum initiated in 2014, with the coup instigated by Ms. Nuland and Mr. Brenner in Kiev. After all, war remains the continuation of politics by other means. Legal texts have their importance, but they do not exceed the importance of political dynamics, as demonstrated by the attack on the USSR in 1941 despite the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, by the violation of the Helsinki Final Act with the unilateral recognition of Slovenian and Croatian independence, by the continued and systematic violation of the UN Charter by the Americans and NATO after 1998, and by the US’s withdrawal from most arms control agreements and the Iranian agreement in recent years.
Biden and the powers behind him cannot solve the problems of either America or the world. They lack the forces to accomplish such a goal and are themselves also hostages of Big Capital, or at least of one of its factions. But a current has now appeared in the centre of our world, which is flowing slowly but surely away from the twin doctrines of social war and Darwinism (neo-liberalism) and the Neoconservative and Neo-imperialist doctrines. This has not happened for forty years. It can probably play the rôle of a catalyst and mobilise much wider forces inside the US and internationally. It is a window of opportunity for a very sick planet. We must not lose it, we must use it!
This article first appeared on defenddemocracy.press.