The Acceleration of Rivalry between the Great Powers Increases the Risks of World War III
Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 25 October 2018, www.thecommunists.net
1. U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw from a 31-year-old nuclear weapons agreement with Russia. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, first signed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and USSR leader Mikhail Gorbachev in December 1987, officially required the two powers to forgo all nuclear ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 km.
2. The background for this threat is the ongoing decline of U.S. imperialism and the rise of new imperialist powers – China and Russia. Beijing is challenging Washington’s long-term global domination in economic as well as political fields. Moscow is also expanding its spheres of influence at the cost of the traditional hegemon (e.g. in the Middle East).
3. Likewise, the new Eastern powers have managed to strengthen their military arsenal. Russia has recently developed a new cruise missile system – the land-based, nuclear-capable Novator 9M729. Likewise did China develop the DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missile, which has a maximum range of 4,000 km.
4. The accelerating rivalry between the Great Powers has resulted in an increasing number of conflicts, sanctions and trade war in the past years (e.g. Ukraine since 2014, Syria, Global Trade War since summer 2018, tensions in the South China Sea, etc.). Further escalations of the tensions between the Great Powers are inevitable.
5. The rationale behind Trump’s move is to retain the military supremacy of the U.S. by further modernizing and expanding its nuclear arsenal. In particular, scrapping the INF treaty could pave the way for the U.S. to field easier-to-hide, road-mobile conventional missiles in places like Guam and Japan (directed against China) or in Central Europe (directed against Russia). Unsurprisingly, Russia and China are opposed to Trump’s threat. Moscow already warned of “military-technical” retaliation in such a case. Likewise, the European Union also rejects Trump’s plan. Maja Kocijancic, the EU’s spokeswoman for foreign affairs and security policy, said: “The world doesn’t need a new arms race.”
6. There can be no doubt that the demise of the INF treaty will provoke a new arms race. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) repeats its warning that the acceleration of rivalry between the Great Powers increases the risks of World War III. The decay of global capitalism inevitable increases the tensions between the Great Powers. Each one needs to expand its sphere of influence at the cost of its rival. This is how imperialism works – it cannot be otherwise.
7. The mass organizations of the working class and oppressed in West and East must mobilize against a new imperialist arms race. They must oppose all armaments programs of any Great Power by means of class struggle – mass demonstrations, strikes up to general strikes, etc. Their representatives in parliament must vote, under any conditions, against all steps towards armament.
8. Furthermore, the RCIT calls the mass workers and popular organizations to fight for the expropriation and the nationalization of the arms industry under workers control. Instead of spending billions for conventional and nuclear weapons, the money should be used to finance public works programs under workers control.
9. The RCIT calls socialists to fight against forms of social-imperialism, i.e. against the open or disguised siding of social democratic, Stalinist or populist leaderships with one or the other Great Power. The interests of the workers and oppressed are opposed to the armament of all Great Powers – the U.S., China, EU, Russia and Japan. None of them is “the lesser evil”! Hence, such an anti-war movement must be independent of any Great Power. In other words, it has to be based on an anti-imperialist program.
10. Furthermore, such a mass movement should oppose all wars, occupations and military adventures of any Great Power against the oppressed people of the South (e.g. Russia and the U.S. in Syria, the U.S. in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Russia in Chechnya). The RCIT unconditionally supports liberation movements fighting against such imperialist aggressions without lending support to their political programs.
11. The RCIT rejects all forms of pacifism. We warn against any illusions that international treaties could curb global armament. As we can see, such treaties are a piece of paper which can be either ignored or scrapped by the imperialist rulers of the world. The only guarantee for peace is the disempowerment of the monopoly capitalists and generals. Only if the workers and oppressed fight for a socialist revolution, only if they succeed in overthrowing the imperialist ruling classes around the world, only then can an era of peace open up.
International Secretariat of the RCIT
The RCIT has published numerous documents relevant to this issue. The most recent ones are:
RCIT: Theses on Revolutionary Defeatism in Imperialist States. Resolution of the International Executive Committee of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 8 September 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/theses-on-revolutionary-defeatism-in-imperialist-states/
Global Trade War: No to Great Power Jingoism in West and East! Neither Imperialist Globalization nor Imperialist Protectionism! For International Solidarity and Joint Struggle of the Working Class and Oppressed People! Joint Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), Marxist Group ‘Class Politics’ (Russia), Alkebulan School of Black Studies (Kenya), Pan-Afrikan Consciousness Renaissance (Nigeria), Courant des Jeunes Penseurs Congolais (Democratic Republic of Congo), and Sınıf Savaşı (Turkey), 4 July 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/rcit/joint-statement-on-the-looming-global-trade-war/
Michael Pröbsting: The Global Trade War is Escalating, 19 September 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/the-global-trade-war-is-escalating/
The Trump-Putin Summit: A Meeting of Two Robber Chiefs, Joint Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) and the Marxist Group ‘Class Politics’ (Russia), 4 July 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/rcit/joint-statement-on-the-trump-putin-summit/
Michael Pröbsting: World Perspectives 2018: A World Pregnant with Wars and Popular Uprisings. Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries, RCIT Books, Vienna 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-perspectives-2018/
On the RCIT’s analysis of China and Russia as emerging imperialist powers see the literature mentioned in the special sub-section on our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/china-russia-as-imperialist-powers/.