World Perspectives 2016: Chapter IV.1. The Accelerating Rivalry between the Great Powers

Note of the Editorial Board: The following document is an extensive study of the present state of the world economy and the global class struggle. It contains 55 figures, 9 tables and one diagram. The figures can only be viewed in the pdf version of the document here for technical reasons.

 

 

 

54.          In past years the RCIT has elaborated in a number of documents the exacerbated rivalry between the Great Powers, enhanced by the emergence of China and Russia as new imperialist powers. At this time we will not repeat all the evidence and arguments which we have presented, as these can be re-read in various party publications. Instead, here we will only summarize the most important conclusions and recent events. [1] As we have shown in the past, the relationship between the Great Powers is characterized by a huge and growing disparity between their respective economic and political/military power. Despite the relative economic decline of the Western imperialist powers in the past decades (see the figures on this in Chapter II of this document), they have retained a nearly absolute dominance in important global institutions like the IMF, the World Bank, etc. In the case of the US, the world’s largest imperialist power, this is particularly pronounced. Despite its industrial decline, its over-indebtedness to foreign creditors, its permanent current account deficit, etc., the US-Dollar has remained the dominant world currency and the US is by far the biggest military power. At the same time China, the most rapidly rising imperialist power, does not hold similar political and military power as its rise has been only very recent. And Russia, politically and militarily stronger than it is economically, is also working hard to expand its influence after its collapse in the 1990s. Likewise, Japan’s political and military power is far below its economic weight, as is also the case with Germany. Figures 45 and 46 make graphic these very changes in the global economic equilibrium. In short, the world situation is not dissimilar to the 1930s when Trotsky observed such a disparity among the Great Powers, with the US’s being an economic giant but without colonies and with a relatively weak army; Britain’s still being the biggest Empire with a strong political and military position, but economically much weakened; and Germany defeated after WWI, but with a great economic and military potential. [2]

 

Figure 45. Rise and Decline of Great Powers: China’s and US’s Share of the World Industrial Production 1980-2015 (in Percent) [3]

 

Figure 46. Distribution of Global Fixed Capital Investment, 2003 and 2013 [4]

 

55.          As a result of these huge disparities, it is hardly surprising that a growing number of imperialist think tanks fear a complete breakdown of the global order and its retrogression to that of earlier historical periods in which rival empires existed and waged war against one another. The US’s Atlantic Council and the Russian IMEMO have recently published a joint study about future developments expected in world politics. They warn: “Despite the promise of cooperation and integration emanating from the rapid globalization of the past few decades, the potential for major state conflict is growing because of deep fragmentation within and between societies. The old confrontation between capitalism and communism has given way to nationalism and conflicts of intellectual and moral values with more or less religious and historical-psychological overtones. These differences are even more serious when linked to the domestic political interests of particular countries’ ruling circles. Compared to the last twenty years, the big powers will be more likely to get involved in various conflicts and to take opposing sides in the period of 2015-35. They might be unintentionally drawn into direct armed conflict as a result of an escalation of crises. This risk applies most immediately to the differences between Russia, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and the United States/NATO in the post-Soviet space, and, less likely, to Chinese and US relations with both countries’ allies and partners in Asia. The growing turbulence in the Middle East and, to a lesser extent, South and East Asia sets the stage for conflict between the major powers and a potential breakdown of the world order. A conflict involving the great powers would end the already challenged ideal of an inclusive liberal world order and put the global economy at risk.” The authors continue: “The potential for breakdown of the international liberal order is greater than ever before. The possibility of turning the clock back to a more inclusive, integrated world order, in which interstate competition was kept in check and there was more scope for cooperation, seems remote.” One of the scenario of which they warn is called “A New Cold War” and described as follows: “In a repeat of Churchill’s 1946 dictum: a new curtain descends across the world. As was in the first half of the earlier Cold War, establishing an equilibrium in this world order would be an immense feat. Countries do not know each other’s redlines. Major state-on-state conflict is no longer unthinkable. Nationalism is rearing its ugly head. Revisionist history is afoot. Globalization is seen as a sham—despite the numbers of people who have climbed out of poverty, the East and South see globalization as a device that has promoted Western interests. In the West, globalization is seen as benefitting the United States’ and its allies’ enemies. In this scenario, war breaks out between the major powers, first on Russia’s borders in the wake of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and then in Asia, where the United States and China come to blows.[5]

 

56.          Another think tank, which is close to the Republican Party in the US, has recently published a book in which it outlines its views on the main challenges for US imperialism. The authors warn that “our world could turn much darker with little notice” and compare the world situation with the 1930s where Russia and China play the role of fascist Germany and Japan at that time: “We do not yet face a cataclysm like that of the late 1930s. But it is fair to compare our era to that of the early 1930s, when the democratic powers seemed to have lost much of their military edge and, equally important, their self-confidence and will to use their power. At the same time, pitiless dictators and virulent ideologies were making use of new technologies to threaten, in ways previously inconceivable, the international order.[6] As a conclusion, the authors advocate: “At the heart of American foreign policy should be our conception of international order. That order is only partly about free trade, although it is important to remind ourselves and others of just how important a world of low tariffs and diminished barriers to commerce has been to the prosperity that has brought hundreds of millions out of poverty since the World Wars. That conception of order must include: the freedom of smaller states to live without fear of invasion or military coercion; commitment to the rules that govern the great commons of mankind—including sea and space—and rights of free passage and peaceful use thereof. And it must include as well the maintenance of a world that is friendly to the existence of free peoples and limited government. The United States does not seek to impose its form of government by conquest, but it should never stint in its defense of the basic ideas that have defined us: limited government; freedom of speech, religion, and assembly; protection of private property; and an independent judiciary.” [7]

 

57.          Credit Suisse, one of the big players in the global financial sector, has also recently published a long-term prognosis about future economic and political developments. It views the rise of rivaling great powers as a significant change which “point towards a more multipolar world. However, there is a narrative that points to the geopolitical risks of such a development—from regional conflicts, cyberwars and ‘great power’ rivalry.” According to the authors there exists the danger of a scenario which “is a darker, negative one that recalls the collapse of globalization in 1913 and the subsequent onset of the First World War. (…) The kinds of things we watch for are—a trend slow­ing in economic growth and trade with the added possibility of a macro shock (from indebtedness, inequality, immigration), a rise in protectionism, a geopolitical/military clash between the great powers, currency wars, a climate event(s), the rise of broad-based anti-globalization political movements and a backlash against global corporations, or a reversal in transitions to democracy.[8]

 

58.          China’s character as a belated, backward but rising imperialist power has been confirmed once more by several political and economic developments in the recent past. Several reports showed that China’s capitalists are increasingly employing industrial robots in order to raise their corporation’s competitiveness against their rivals. Still, China’s economy lags still far behind their competitors in terms of productivity: For now, China has just 30 robots per 10,000 manufacturing employees, trailing South Korea (437), Japan (323), Germany (282) and the U.S. (152), according to the International Federation of Robotics. [9] However, China also is investing heavily in robots as its wages soar and its population ages. It has become the world’s largest market for industrial robots and is projected to install more industrial robots than any other country by 2016. [10] Likewise China (without Hong Kong and Macao) has overtaken the US as the home country to the largest number of billionaires throughout the world. Today, out of 1,877 US-Dollar billionaires worldwide, 596 have their homes in China while 537 dollar billionaires live in the US. [11] Even official Chinese sources are forced to admit these developments. Two Chinese academics wrote in an official journal that “5% of Americans have controlled 60% of the wealth, while in China 1% of the families have controlled 41% of the wealth of the whole country, a far greater concentration than that of the United States.[12] These figures confirm once more that Chinese monopoly capital has emerged and constitutes the ruling class on which imperialist China is based.

 

59.          The sharp and open outbreak of the rivalry between the Great Powers started in the spring of 2014, intensified in 2015 and will do so even more in the coming period. This is clear from a number of events in the recent past. The civil war in the Ukraine has been frozen temporarily as a result of the Minsk II agreement between the Western powers and Russia in February 2015. This confirms, by the way, our assessment that the belligerent parties – the Poroshenko / Euromaidan government in Kiev as well as the leadership of the Donbass Republics – are primarily not independent actors but rather proxies of US/EU and Russian imperialism respectively. [13] However, the US and EU are continuing their sanctions against Russia, albeit important sectors of the European capitalists and an increasing number of EU governments are feeling uncomfortable with them because of losses to businesses and because they need Putin’s collaboration in liquidating the Syrian civil war. At the same time, Russia, while suffering from the economic consequences of the sanctions, does not show any sign of giving in to the West’s demands.

 

60.          Syria has become another focus of the rivalry of the imperialist Great Powers as well as of their collaboration against a common enemy – the ongoing Arab Revolution. Currently Russia is the state which has undertaken the most serious military intervention in Syria. While Russia mostly executes air strikes, it does so while using the Syrian regime forces and Iranian units as their ground troops. The US and the EU – despite their rivalry with Moscow – have accepted the fact that they will be forced to accept Putin as a partner in liquidating the Syrian Revolution. After stopping Obama from launching a military strike in Syria in September 2013, then annexing the Crimea formally and the Donbass region de-facto in 2014, Russian imperialism has again demonstrated its vigor by its current massive military intervention in Syria and its ability to force the Western Great Powers to collaborate with it. At the same time, US, UK, French and German imperialism are determined both to collaborate with Assad and Putin in liquidating the Syrian Revolution while at the same time making sure that they will have a sphere of influence in a post-war Syria.

 

61.          Another area of exacerbated rivalry between the Great Powers is the struggle in the economic and financial fields. In December 2015 the International Monetary Fund approved China's Renminbi into its group of elite reserve currencies. With this decision, the Renminbi is joining the US-Dollar, Euro, Japanese Yen and British Pound in the list of currencies the IMF uses as an international reserve asset. [14] This is clear confirmation from the Western imperialists that China has become a capitalist and imperialist Great Power, contrary to the fantasies of various reformists and centrists.

 

62.          At the same time the civil war in the Ukraine has provoked another dispute in the IMF between the Great Powers, one which is likely to have major long-term consequences for the architecture of this global financial institution. The US and its Western allies recently initiated an important change in the IMF’s lending policy, ending its traditional policy of “non-toleration of arrears to official creditors.[15] The creditor leverage that the IMF has used until now has been that, if a nation is in financial arrears to any government, it cannot qualify for an IMF loan – and hence, for packages involving other governments. Naturally, this system has helped to retain the dominance of Western imperialism – and first and foremost, that of the US – and the dollarized global financial system. The change of rules was provoked by the Ukraine’s pro-Western government defaulting on its payment of interest for its debts to Russia. (Putin provided the former Ukraine government with a $3 billion loan at a 5% interest rate in 2013.) Instead of refusing to lend any new loans to the Ukraine, the Western powers changed the IMF rules and offered their lackeys in Kiev new loans. While this is a setback for Russia in the short-term, it has long-term consequences for the IMF and the US-dominated financial institutions. It demonstrated to China and Russia that the IMF is the Western imperialist’s financial instrument and will further accelerate their drive to build new and alternative financial institutions.

 

63.          In fact, China and Russia have already started to do so. China initiated the foundation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, ratified by China’s parliament in November 2015, which is intended as an alternative both to the US/Western-dominated World Bank and IMF as well as the Japan-dominated Asian Development Bank. It has an authorized capital of $100 billion and its headquarter will be in Beijing. China, India and Russia are the three largest shareholders, with a voting share of 26.06%, 7.5% and 5.92%, respectively. China’s AIIB project found wide support with 57 founding member states. [16] While the US and Japan boycott it, important European imperialist power like Britain, France and Germany have joined it – despite the pressure from Washington not to do so. This is the second project of the Eastern imperialist powers to create alternative financial institutions after they previously created the New Development Bank (NDB) in 2014/15. The NDB is a bank of the five BRICS states (China, Russia, India, Brazil, and South Africa). It has starting capital of $50 billion, which should increase to $100 billion over time. In addition, the BRICS set up, in a separate agreement, a reserve currency pool worth over another $100 billion.

 

64.          As a consequence of the accelerated rivalry, China and Russia are increasingly challenging the dominance of the US-Dollar as the main currency for trade and as a reserve currency. In 2014 Russia and China signed two mammoth 30-year contracts for Russian gas to China. The contracts specified that the exchange would be done in Renminbi and Russian Rubles, not in US-Dollars. In addition, the Russian Finance Ministry announced on 6 November that the Russian government will issue state bonds in 2016 to an as yet undetermined amount in Renminbi. In fact, we have already seen for some time an accelerating process of de-dollarization. Today China’s Renminbi has become the main currency for payments between China and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region. Its use has more than tripled over the past three years and has outstripped the Yen and the US-Dollar. In international trade settlement and investment, the Renminbi was used in January-April 2015 for 31% of payments between China (including Hong Kong) and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region, up from 7% back in April 2012. The currency’s ascent came mostly at the expense of the US-Dollar, which was used in just 12.3% of payments, down from 21.7% in April 2012 (see Table 7). [17] According to China’s RMB Internationalization Report 2015, released in July last year, China’s Renminbi has become the world’s 5th most used payment currency, the 2nd most used trade finance currency, and the 6th most traded currency in 2014. [18] The Financial Times reported in October 2015, that the Renminbi has already surpassed the Japanese Yen and become the 4th most-used currency for global payments (2.8%). Nevertheless, the US-Dollar remains by far the most used currency with a share of 44.8% (see Table 8). [19] In summary, while the US-Dollar is still the dominant currency, the Chinese are rapidly increasing their influence in the currency market.

 

 

 

Table 7. Currencies Used for Trade between China and the Asia-Pacific [20]

Currency                              Jan–Apr 2012                     Jan–Apr 2015

Australian Dollar              12%                                        12.1%

US-Dollar                             21.7%                                    12.3%

Hong Kong Dollar            21.8%                                    16%

Japanese Yen                      28%                                        23%

Renminibi                           7%                                          31%

 

 

 

Table 8. Global Payment Currencies (by August 2015) [21]

Currency                              Share

US-Dollar                             44.82%

Euro                                       27.20%

British Pound                     8.45%

Renminibi                           2.79%

Japanese Yen                      2.76%

 

 

65.          This development is also reflected in the establishment of an alternative cross-border payments system both by China as well as Russia. Until recently, cross-border payments were executed globally using the SWIFT system, which is dominated by the US and the EU. However, after the Western powers excluded Russia from SWIFT as part of their sanctions in the course of the Ukraine crisis in 2014, Russia was forced to establish an alternative system. China had already previously decided to establish its own cross-border payments system (called Cross-Border Inter-Bank Payments System or CIPS) and finally succeeded doing so in October 2015. These steps make the Eastern imperialists also financially more independent of the Western-dominated payments system. [22]

 

66.          A further arena where rivalry between the Great Powers increasingly takes place is the current round of free trade agreements. The US recently announced the intention to create the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which should lower or abolish tariffs and making trade cheaper. This agreement includes, besides the US, 11 Asian, Latin American and Oceania countries. As an alternative, China is promoting the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a proposed 16-nation free-trade area. RCEP would include, among others, Japan and Australia (which are also part of TPP) as well as India, South Korea and Indonesia (which are not part of TPP). The two free trade projects reflect the struggle of the two imperialist giants: TPP would represent 13% of global trade, RCEP around 12%; in terms of global GDP, TPP represent 36% and RCEP 29%. [23] The struggle for Asia’s market is crucial since it is the second largest regional market (with 32.0% of world merchandise imports and 31.5% of its exports in 2014; Europe is the biggest market with import/export shares of 36.8% and 36.4% respectively) [24] Between the years 2000 and 2014, the US share of trade in Asia declined by nearly half, while China’s share grew rapidly (see Figure 47). In 2000, US exports accounted for 12.3% of the Asian import market. Yet, 14 years later, US exports were just 6.6% of the Asian market. Japan fared even worse. At the same time, China’s share of the Asian import market grew from 8.3% (2000) to 18.7% (2014) of the total Asian import market. [25]

 

Figure 47. China’s and the U.S.’s Share of Asian Trade, 2000-2014 [26]

 

67.          On a political and military level, China trails behind the US (but not other Western imperialist powers like Japan or Germany). It is now starting to send military abroad by deploying 700 combat troops in South Sudan, a country in which China has major economic interests. [27] In the maritime realm, Beijing has underlined – via military maneuvers and the construction of military outposts on the Spratly Islands – its own version of the Monroe Doctrine according to which, what China calls the South China Sea, belongs exclusively to itself. [28] Naturally US imperialism is alarmed by China’s claims, since it views Asia as it own sphere of influence. The Council on Foreign Relations, a semi-official think tank close to the US Administration, therefore call Washington to “thwart Beijing’s objective to systematically undermine American strategic primacy in Asia.[29] However, China’s Monroe Doctrine has provoked the indignation not only of its imperialist rivals but also of smaller Asian nations (like Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, etc.). China’s project to build a channel from the Atlantic to the Pacific through Nicaragua (as an alternative to the US-dominated Panama channel) and its plan for a Transcontinental Rail project in Latin America are other examples of its plans to expand its global influence. [30] All this reflects the rise of the Eastern imperialist Great Powers and the decline of their Western rivals. A recently published article by a reactionary British journalist, entitled “Our spoiled, emasculated, de-spiritualised societies in the West are in terminal decline,” reflects these developments. The author concluded: “What we were seeing in 2015, more than ever before, were the signs of one of history’s great geopolitical shifts, as the centuries-old hegemony of the West gives way to the new powerhouses of the outside world. In the face of every kind of new external challenge, the leaders of the EU and the USA have never looked weaker or more bemused – as over how to deal with the flood of refugees and the terrorist threat unleashed from a Middle East reduced to chaos by our vainglorious interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. Never have our politicians and political institutions been held in less respect.” He adds “We might well be haunted by the brilliant title of that otherwise not very good book written by Otto Spengler in the Twenties, Der Untergang des Abendlandes (The Decline of the West). All civilisations, as we know, eventually decline, and Spengler’s title was just 90 years ahead of its time.[31]

 

68.          In summary, the rivalry between the monopolies as well as between the Great Powers has continued to accelerate. The sharks are fighting more aggressively for their share of fish in a shrinking sea. As a result, the process of monopolization – in which bigger capitalist corporations swallow smaller ones – accelerates, as we mentioned above. In the political sphere, this means that the rivalry between the imperialist powers unavoidable accelerates and increases the danger of a Third World War. While such a war between the Great Powers is unlikely in the near future, such dangers will increase with the deepening of the capitalist crisis and the exacerbation of the contradictions.

 



[1] See e.g. Michael Pröbsting: The Great Robbery of the South. Continuity and Changes in the Super-Exploitation of the Semi-Colonial World by Monopoly Capital Consequences for the Marxist Theory of Imperialism, 2013, http://www.great-robbery-of-the-south.net/; RCIT: On the 100th Anniversary of the Outbreak of World War I: The Struggle against Imperialism and War. The Marxist Understanding of Modern Imperialism and the Revolutionary Program in Light of the Increasing Rivalry between the Great Powers, Revolutionary Uprisings, and Counterrevolutionary Setbacks, 25.6.2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/struggle-vs-imperialism-war/; RCIT: Escalation of Inner-Imperialist Rivalry Marks the Opening of a New Phase of World Politics. Theses on Recent Major Developments in the World Situation Adopted by the RCIT’s International Executive Committee, April 2014, in: Revolutionary Communism (English-language Journal of the RCIT) No. 22, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-situation-april-2014/; RCIT: Aggravation of Contradictions, Deepening of Crisis of Leadership. Theses on Recent Major Developments in the World Situation Adopted by the RCIT’s International Executive Committee, 9.9.2013, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 15, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-situation-september2013/; RCIT: The World Situation and the Tasks of the Bolshevik-Communists. Theses of the International Executive Committee of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency, March 2013, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 8, www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-situation-march-2013; Michael Pröbsting: China‘s transformation into an imperialist power. A study of the economic, political and military aspects of China as a Great Power, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 4, http://www.thecommunists.net/publications/revcom-number-4; Michael Pröbsting: No to chauvinist war-mongering by Japanese and Chinese imperialism! Chinese and Japanese workers: Your main enemy is at home! Stop the conflict on the Senkaku/Diaoyu-islands in the East China Sea! 23.9.2012,in: Revolutionary Communism No. 6, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/no-war-between-china-and-japan/; Michael Pröbsting: Lenin’s Theory of Imperialism and the Rise of Russia as a Great Power. On the Understanding and Misunderstanding of Today’s Inter-Imperialist Rivalry in the Light of Lenin’s Theory of Imperialism. Another Reply to Our Critics Who Deny Russia’s Imperialist Character, August 2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/imperialism-theory-and-russia/; Michael Pröbsting: Russia as a Great Imperialist Power. The formation of Russian Monopoly Capital and its Empire – A Reply to our Critics, 18 March 2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 21, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/imperialist-russia/; Michael Pröbsting: Russia and China as Great Imperialist Powers. A Summary of the RCIT’s Analysis, 28 March 2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 22, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/imperialist-china-and-russia/; Michael Pröbsting: More on Russia and China as Great Imperialist Powers. A Reply to Chris Slee (Socialist Alliance, Australia) and Walter Daum (LRP, USA), 11 April 2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 22, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/reply-to-slee-on-russia-china/; Michael Pröbsting: The Uprising in East Ukraine and Russian Imperialism. An Analysis of Recent Developments in the Ukrainian Civil War and their Consequences for Revolutionary Tactics, 22.October 2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/ukraine-and-russian-imperialism/

[2] See e.g. Manifesto of the Fourth International on Imperialist War. Imperialist War and the Proletarian World Revolution. Adopted by the Emergency Conference of the Fourth International, May 19-26, 1940, in: Documents of the Fourth International. The Formative Years (1933-40), New York 1973, http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/document/fi/1938-1949/emergconf/fi-emerg02.htm

[3] Credit Suisse: China In Pictures: Under Pressure, September 9, 2015, p. 7

[4] OECD: Economic Outlook, Volume 2015/1, p.210. However, one should be aware that these figures most likely are exaggerated since they are calculated in PPP and not in exchange value. Nevertheless, they reflect a real shift which has taken place.

[5] Global System on the Brink: Pathways toward a New Normal, Joint Study by the Atlantic Council’s Strategic Foresight Initiative and the Russian Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations, 2015, p. 4 respectively p. 17

[6] Eliot Cohen, Eric Edelman, and Brian Hook: Rebuilding American Foreign Policy, in: John Hay Initiative: Choosing To Lead. American Foreign Policy for a Disordered World, 2015, p. 26

[7] Eliot Cohen, Eric Edelman, and Brian Hook: Rebuilding American Foreign Policy, in: John Hay Initiative: Choosing To Lead. American Foreign Policy for a Disordered World, 2015, pp. 21-22

[8] Credit Suisse Research Institute: The End of Globalization or a more Multipolar World? September 2015, pp. 4-6

[9] Reuters: China to have most robots in world by 2017, Feb 5, 2015, http://www.reuters.com/article/robots-china-idUSL6N0VF52O20150205

[10] Timothy Aeppel: Why China May Have the Most Factory Robots in the World, Wall Street Journal, Apr 1, 2015, http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2015/04/01/why-china-may-have-the-most-factory-robots-in-the-world-by-2017/

[11] See, e.g., Hurun Global Rich List, http://www.hurun.net/en/ArticleShow.aspx?nid=14678; CNBC: US dethroned as world's billionaire capital. The U.S. has lost its crown as the country with the most billionaires, 15 Oct 2015, http://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/15/us-dethroned-as-worlds-billionaire-capital.html; see also Michael Pröbsting: China’s “Socialist“ Billionaires, 16.11.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/china-s-billionaires/

[12] Cheng Enfu and Liu Wei: Theoretical Interpretation and Pracical Analysis of the Socialist Common Prosperity, in: Marxist Studies in China (2012), Marxist Studies Editorial Department of the Chinese Academy of Social Science, Beijing 2012, p. 296; see also Interview with Li Chingfu: Be More Firm and Self-conscious to Adhere to and Improve China’s Basic Economic System, in: Marxist Studies in China (2013), Marxist Studies Editorial Department of the Chinese Academy of Social Science, Beijing 2013, p. 66; Feng Jianmin: China ranks 2nd for billionaires, March 1, 2013, http://www.shanghaidaily.com/Business/finance/China-ranks-2nd-for-billionaires/shdaily.shtml

[13] See, e.g., Michael Pröbsting: The Minsk Agreement and the Civil War in the Ukraine, 20.2.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/minsk-agreement/; Michael Pröbsting: The Uprising in East Ukraine and Russian Imperialism. An Analysis of Recent Developments in the Ukrainian Civil War and their Consequences for Revolutionary Tactics, 22.October 2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/ukraine-and-russian-imperialism/; RCIT: After the Fascist Pogrom in Odessa: Advance the Struggle against the Counterrevolution in the Ukraine! Commemoration for the Fallen Fighters in the Struggle against the Counterrevolution! All Out for the International Day of Antifascist Solidarity on 8 May! 6.5.2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 23, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/after-odessa-pogrom/; RCIT: Counterrevolution and Mass Resistance in the Ukraine, 17.4.2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 22, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/mass-resistance-in-ukraine/; Joint Statement of the RCIT and the Movement to Socialism (MAS, Russia): Ukraine: Rivalry between Imperialist Powers escalates after Right-Wing Coup: Stop the Imperialist Saber-Rattling! 2.3.2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 21, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/ukraine-war-threats/; MAS: Ukraine/Russia: The victory over the imperialist colonialism is impossible without the proletarian revolution! in: Revolutionary Communism No. 21, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/mas-declaration-5-3-2014/; RCIT and MAS: Right-Wing Forces Take Power in the Ukraine: Mobilize the Working Class against the New Government! 25.2.2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 19, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/right-wing-coup-in-ukraine/; MAS: No to the Terror of the Bandera-Fascists! Stop the Repression against the Communists of Ukraine! 22.2.2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 19, http://www.nuevomas.blogspot.co.at/2014/02/no-to-terror-of-bandera-fascists-stop.html; RCIT: “Ukraine: Neither Brussels nor Moscow! For an independent Workers’ Republic!” 18.12.2013, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 18, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/ukraine-neither-brussels-nor-moscow/.

[14] See e.g. Aljazeera: IMF approves China's yuan as reserve currency. Inclusion in elite list alongside US dollar and euro described as a milestone for world's second largest economy, 01 Dec 2015 http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/12/imf-approves-china-yuan-reserve-currency-151201035146246.html; Mark Fleming-Williams: China and the Changing Global Economic Order, Stratfor, December 1, 2015, https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/china-and-changing-global-economic-order 

[15][15] IMF Executive Board Discusses Reforming the Fund's Policy on Non-Toleration of Arrears to Official Creditors, IMF Press Release No. 15/555, December 10, 2015, https://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/pr/2015/pr15555.htm

[16] See e.g. China parliament ratifies $100 bn Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, November 4, 2015, http://thebricspost.com/china-parliament-ratifies-100-bn-asian-infrastructure-investment-bank/#.VpPnbVI4Luo

[17] James Kynge: Renminbi tops currency usage table for China’s trade with Asia, Financial Times, May 27, 2015, http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/3/1e44915c-048d-11e5-adaf-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3wxdp7BeG

[18] See International Monetary Institute: RMB Internationalization Report 2015. Monetary Strategy in One Belt and One Road Initiative, Renmin University of China, July 2015·Beijing

[19] Gabriel Wildau: China launch of renminbi payments system reflects Swift spying concerns, October 8, 2015, http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/84241292-66a1-11e5-a155-02b6f8af6a62.html#axzz3wxdp7BeG

[20] James Kynge: Renminbi tops currency usage table for China’s trade with Asia, Financial Times, May 27, 2015, http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/3/1e44915c-048d-11e5-adaf-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3wxdp7BeG

[21] Gabriel Wildau: China launch of renminbi payments system reflects Swift spying concerns, October 8, 2015, http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/84241292-66a1-11e5-a155-02b6f8af6a62.html#axzz3wxdp7BeG

[22] See e.g. F. William Engdahl: China Carefully Moving to Displace Dollar, 14.12.2015, http://journal-neo.org/2015/12/14/china-carefully-moving-to-displace-dollar/

[23] See e.g. Richard Macauley: Thought the TPP was a big deal? China’s rival free trade pact covers half the world’s population, October 08, 2015, http://qz.com/519790/thought-the-tpp-was-a-big-deal-chinas-rival-free-trade-pact-covers-half-the-worlds-population/; Jack Kim: China-backed trade pact playing catch-up after U.S.-led TPP deal, Oct 10, 2015 http://www.reuters.com/article/us-trade-tpp-rcep-idUSKCN0S500220151011, Shannon Tiezzi: As TPP Leaders Celebrate, China Urges Creation of Asia-Pacific Free Trade Area, November 19, 2015, http://thediplomat.com/2015/11/as-tpp-leaders-celebrate-china-urges-creation-of-asia-pacific-free-trade-area/

[24] World Trade Organization: International Trade Statistics 2015, pp. 42-43

[25] Jay Chittooran: Losing Ground in Asia: Why the U.S. Export Market Share Has Plummeted, August 5, 2015, http://www.thirdway.org/report/losing-ground-in-asia-why-the-us-export-market-share-has-plummeted

[26] The Time for TPA Is Now, June 3, 2015, http://waysandmeans.house.gov/the-time-for-tpa-is-now/

[27] David Smith: China to send 700 combat troops to South Sudan, The Guardian, 23 December 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/23/china-700-combat-troops-south-sudan-africa-battalion-un-peacekeeping

[28] The US government announced its so-called Monroe Doctrine in 1823. It stated that any further efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North or South America would be viewed as acts of aggression, requiring US intervention. It effectively declared the end of Spanish and Portuguese efforts to dominate Latin America and the beginning of the US domination over the hemisphere. (See e.g., Mark T. Gilderhus: The Monroe Doctrine: Meanings and Implications, in: Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 36, No. 1 (Mar., 2006), pp.5–16) Similar to Germany, the US as a belated rising imperialist power had to struggle against the dominance of other powers like Britain or France. China’s situation today resembles those of the US or Germany in the 19th and early 20th century.

[29] Robert D. Blackwill, Ashley J. Tellis: Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China, Council on Foreign Relations, Council Special Report No. 72, March 2015, p. 35

[30] The project of the Nicaragua channel has been temporarily postponed at the moment since Wang Jing, the Chinese telecoms tycoon who has been the driving force behind it, lost 85% of his net wealth as a result of the current stock market slump in China. (See, e.g., Jonathan Watts: $50bn Nicaragua canal postponed as Chinese tycoon's fortunes falter, The Guardian, 27 November 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/27/nicaragua-canal-postponed-chinese-tycoon; Tom Phillips: Chinese mogul behind Nicaragua canal lost 85% of his fortune in stock market, The Guardian, 2 October 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/02/chinese-mogul-behind-nicaragua-canal-lost-85-of-his-fortune-in-stock-market)

[31] Christopher Booker: Our spoiled, emasculated, de-spiritualised societies in the West are in terminal decline, The Telegraph (UK), 02 Jan 2016, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/12078365/Our-spoiled-emasculated-despiritualised-societies-in-the-Westare-in-terminal-decline.html. We cannot fail to point out that journalists like Booker are not only useful in that they reflect a certain ideological mood among the bourgeois intelligentsia; they also demonstrate well the decline of education amongst the bourgeois intelligentsia: the famous author Booker is referring to is not named “Otto Spengler” but “Oswald Spengler.”