US Sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea are an Economic Declaration of War

Down with the sanctions! Defend Iran and North Korea against any Imperialist Aggression! Oppose U.S. as well as Russian Imperialism


Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency, 30 July 2017,




1.            Both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives nearly unanimously voted for a bill that includes drastic sanctions against Russia as well as against Iran and North Korea. Furthermore, it represents an implicit attack on the European Union as the bill also threatens sanctions against other countries that have business relations with these three states. Russia as well as the European Union have already announced to retaliate in case the bill becomes effective. This measure of US imperialism represents a serious escalation of both inner-imperialist rivalry as well as of imperialist aggression against countries like Iran and North Korea.


2.            The U.S. Congress' bill is highly remarkable on several levels. First, the unanimity of both the chambers of the Congress – the Senate backed the bill by a margin of 98-2, the House of Representatives by 419-3 – reflects the fact that this move does not constitute a tactical maneuver of a party but represents the collective will of the ruling class.


3.            This bill massively escalates the economic sanctions which Western imperialist powers have already adopted against Russia since 2014. The new sanctions focus on the energy sector. This reflects a strong economic motive of the US capitalist class as it desires to establish American dominance on the world energy market. The US is already the world’s largest exporter of refined petroleum products. Furthermore the U.S. has massively increased its production of LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) through the highly environmentally damaging method of fracking. Hence, there is a strong motivation of US imperialism to weaken its competitors on the energy market like Russia, Iran and Qatar.


4.            Furthermore, the bill reflects the desire of US imperialism to politically weaken Russia which is one of its major rivals in world politics. Moscow has demonstrated its rise as a Great Power as it currently humiliates Washington in Syria in front of the whole world. This imperialist rivalry is also an important background for the anti-Russian hysteria in the US concerning the alleged interference of the Putin regime in the U.S. elections last year. The contempt by most of the US ruling class for the Trump Administration is nurtured not only by the latter incompetence but also by the "unpatriotic" desire of the Trump clan to conspire with Putin against the Democratic Party. Hence the new bill also includes a remarkable provision that allows Congress to stop any effort by Trump to ease existing sanctions on Russia, a kind of explicit mistrust of the Congress against the American President.


5.            The new bill will also have drastic consequences for the European Union as the sanctions target any company that contributes to the development, maintenance or modernization of Russia’s energy export pipelines. As it is well-known European corporations are strongly involved in joint energy projects with Russia (e.g. Nord Stream 2, Blue Stream pipeline, CPC pipeline). In short, the bill is an attempt to undermine the EU cooperation with Russia and to force it to become dependent on U.S. energy imports.


6.            The imperialist EU has already recognized the danger of this bill. EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker reacted in a statement: "The U.S. bill could have unintended unilateral effects that impact the EU's energy security interests. (…) If our concerns are not taken into account sufficiently, we stand ready to act appropriately within a matter of days. 'America First' cannot mean that Europe's interests come last." (Reuters: EU warns U.S. it may respond swiftly to counter new sanctions on Russia, July 26, 2017) Given the ongoing conflict between the U.S. and the EU about tariffs for steel imports, a trade war between the U.S. and the EU is looming – reflecting the accelerating rivalry between the imperialist Great Powers in the current period.


7.            In addition, the new bill imposes new sanctions against Iran. This is particularly remarkable since even the Trump Administration, which includes a strong faction of fanatical war-mongers against Iran, has been forced recently to admit that Iran has not violated the nuclear deal reached in 2015 between Iran and a group of Great Powers (Reuters: Trump says Iran complying with nuclear deal but remains dangerous threat, July 18, 2017). Hence the new sanctions reflect the determination of US imperialism to launch a new wave of aggression against a country which is both a competitor on the energy market as well as a local rival in Middle East politics.


8.            Finally, the bill represents another acceleration of the imperialist aggression against North Korea. This is even more the case as Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida already announced that his government will join the U.S. in imposing additional sanctions on North Korea. These imperialist powers want to subjugate North Korea as it represents a small non-capitalist country which however possesses modern (possibly even nuclear) weapons and as such represents a challenge for the Western dominance in the region. Furthermore, it is allied with China – the main imperialist rival in Asia for the US and Japan.


9.            The RCIT warns that this new bill is a dangerous escalation of the aggressive foreign policy of US imperialism which must be opposed by socialists in the US as well as internationally. Naturally, opposing the new US sanction does not make us supporters of Russian or European imperialism which themselves are involved in reactionary wars against oppressed people (e.g. Syria, Chechnya, Mali). Socialists must take a revolutionary defeatist position in any confrontation between such imperialist powers. Likewise, we will oppose any future retaliation sanctions by Russia or the EU.


10.          We sharply denounce the threats and provocations of US imperialism against Iran and North Korea. The RCIT unconditionally opposes the theocratic regime in Teheran and we call for the defeat of the Iranian forces in Syria where they are supporting the reactionary dictatorship of Assad against the legitimate popular uprising of the Syrian people. Nevertheless, we stand for the defense of Iran against any imperialist sanctions or against any military attack by the US or by Israel. The same policy applies to North Korea as we have pointed out in past statements.


International Secretariat of the RCIT




For our analysis of the Trump Administration and the crisis of US imperialism we refer readers to various documents:


RCIT: World Perspectives 2017: The Struggle against the Reactionary Offensive in the Era of Trumpism. Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries, 18 December 2016,


Michael Pröbsting: The Meaning, Consequences and Lessons of Trump‘s Victory. On the Lessons of the US Presidential Election Outcome and the Perspectives for the Domestic and International Class Struggle, 24.November 2016,


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,


For our analysis of Russia as an emerging imperialist country we refer readers to various documents:


RCIT: World Perspectives 2017, Chapter III. The Great Power Rivalry and Its Consequences for World Politics,


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


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,


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,


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,


See also our past statements on Iran:


RCIT: For the Iranian Revolution! Down with the capitalist Mullah dictatorship! Down with Imperialism! For a working class revolution in Iran! February 2017,


Yossi Schwartz: Nuclear Agreement Signed: Will Iran Become the Policeman of Imperialism in the Region? 23.7.2015,


RKOB: Defend Iran against the U.S., EU and Israel warmongers! 9.11.2011,


See also our past statements on the imperialist aggression against North Korea:


RCIT: North Korea: Stop the War Mongering of US Imperialism! Down with the imperialist sanctions against North Korea! No political support for the Stalinist Kim Regime! 4 April 2017,


RCIT: New Imperialist Threats in East Asia: Hands off North Korea! 12.3.2013,


RCIT: No War against North Korea! Call for Protests on the Day when a War starts! 6.4.2013,