By NAT WEINSTEIN
There can be little doubt that the British capitalist class had long ago lined itself up with its American cousins in what appears to be a steadily mounting conflict of economic and political interests among the world’s major imperialist powers.
Britain’s main economic competitors in Europe are Germany and France, the two strongest economic powers in Europe.
The Social Democratic leaders of these two countries represent, in general, the economic interests of the European Union (EU).
The EU is a coalition of the strongest economic powers in Europe. It is an attempt to transcend national differences among them and construct a unified European economic entity.
Their aim is to compete more effectively against the world’s strongest economic powerhouse, the United States, and to a lesser extent against Japan.
The current dispute between the EU and the United States over tariffs and other barriers to the importation of American bananas and beef is only the tip of an iceberg of mounting conflicts of interest between the world’s competing economic powers.
British capitalism opted to stay out of the EU and sought to establish closer economic collaboration with the Americans instead.
While British capitalism is in no less of a disadvantage in an alliance with American capitalism, they appear to have decided that their best bet was a junior partnership with American capitalism since it is the strongest and has the best chance of emerging a victor in the unfolding global economic struggle.
The British have apparently decided that what they lack economically they make up for by being both an attack dog and a stalking horse for American imperialism.
Tony Blair is doing for Clinton what Clinton can’t do for himself because of the far greater restraints the Vietnam syndrome places on American imperialism.
The Vietnam syndrome also serves to block Clinton and company from supplying, at least at the outset, the major portion of the troops leading an invading NATO army-as it has done under the banner of the United Nations since the end of World War II.
Were Clinton to lead the charge to send in ground troops, he would be obliged to pledge a major portion of those sent to kill and be killed in an invasion of Kosovo and ultimately in all Yugoslavia. Clinton knows full well that that won’t fly with the American people-at least, he hopes, until others lead the way and it becomes clear that they can’t do it alone.
In the meantime, the leaders of the other nations in the alliance, with the exception of Tony Blair, are fearful of appearing to volunteer their citizens as cannon fodder for an American military invasion, while the United States would merely provide the bulk of the necessary weapons of mass destruction.
Such a “division of labor” is unlikely to meet with the approval of the working people of the NATO nations since this war is widely perceived to serve mainly American imperialist interests.
While Clinton had pledged to commit only 7000 U.S. troops to the 60,000 that would occupy Kosovo in the event of a Yugoslav capitulation, this too is only a deception to lull the American people. Should a military invasion become necessary, NATO commanders have stated that they would need at least 150,000 troops; that increase can only come from the U.S. military machine.
No matter what the scenario, however, there can be no doubt that once a ground force enters Kosovo, nothing can stop the numbers of troops from being expanded to whatever size necessary to win the war. Nothing, that is, except the masses of people in the United States and in the other NATO nations!
While nothing succeeds like success, however, it’s also true that nothing fails like failure. Thus, the intensive bombing campaign by the world’s most powerful airborne destructive force has failed to persuade Milosevic to cry “uncle!”
But it has caused a major crisis of confidence in American leadership and threatens to break up the 19-nation NATO alliance.
All those who want to stop this calamity should come out and march and protest in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., on June 5!
And be prepared to join in every other mass protest action, teach-in, and organizational meeting until this war is stopped!