G-7 Summit in Hiroshima -The Bugles of World War Sound CloserJune 12, 2023
Resolve to Continue Arming Ukraine as Biden Agrees to F-16 Fighters to Ukraine
Editorial, June 2023
The US has agreed to allow allies to supply Ukraine US made F-16 fighter jets having long strike range of 500 miles. US will also train Ukraine’s pilots to fly it. Reacting to it, Russia’s Deputy foreign minister Alexander Grushko has threatened the West to be ready to pay the price and bear the brunt. In the Russian Minister’s own words, “Western countries continue to stick to an escalation scenario, which carries enormous risks for them. In any case, we will take it into account when making plans. We have all the necessary means to achieve our goals.”
This has added fuel to the already heated atmosphere between Russia-China and the US since the start of the process of admitting Ukraine as a member in NATO. It may be noted that the tension between Russia-China and America is already high due to the ongoing war in Ukraine. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s President Zelensky has recently been traveling across Europe every week asking for armaments so that Kiev’s plans for a major counter offensive on Russia in the coming days can succeed. Germany and even France are also expected to help on a large scale this time. Presidents of both the countries have made public announcements to this effect. It is known to the whole world that Ukraine wants to attack Russia once and for all with full force to take the war from Ukrainian soil to the Russian one. Its attempts at incursions near Belgorod and drone attacks in Moscow also point to it. This dream of Ukraine rulers can be fulfilled with the supply of F-16 planes, Leopard tanks and other promised weapons. But, in a world divided into hostile imperialist war camps, will this not present the danger of World War III openly breaking out? The way US and UK are trying to surround Russia in Eastern Europe with the help of NATO countries, isn’t there a possibility that a desperate Russia might decide to launch a nuclear war. On the other hand, we know very well what will happen to the world economy already suffering from a depression and slow growth over a long period of time. We also know what will happen to the people of the world who are in the clutches of hunger, misery, poverty, unemployment and debt.
For the whole week prior to Hiroshima, the Netherlands and the UK had been lobbying across Europe to supply Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets, for which US approval or permission was necessary. US did not agree to this for a long time, especially because it will give Russia an opportunity or an excuse to escalate the confrontation. It should be noted that the handful of countries in Europe having F-16s have received them from the US, and, therefore, those countries (including Netherlands) who have voluntarily or under some pressure decided to give some of their F-16 aircrafts to Ukraine were trying to obtain a Third-Party Transfer Certificate or permission from the US. It is said that US was unwilling for it since very sensitive American technology is used in F-16 aircraft. On the other hand, ever since the Ukraine-Russia war started, Ukraine’s President Zelensky was engaged in building an international alliance for the supply of F-16 planes.
Ever since the Russia-Ukraine war started, the whole world has become divided into two imperialist blocs or camps (Russia-China on one side and Anglo-American led NATO countries on the other). Ukraine, Syria and Taiwan have all become flash points in this confrontation between the two blocs. Apart from this, conflicts for their strategic interests are also increasing in the Indo-Pacific region. US is in a state of confrontation with Russia-China not only in the Black Sea, but also in the Indo-Pacific and the South China Sea. Both have come into direct confrontation with each other several times. It is known that the western edge of the Indo-Pacific extends from US to India. In this context, the Indian Ocean, the South China Sea, and the East China Sea, which connect the whole of South-East Asia, become very important. US is active in this entire region with the help of its allies Japan, Britain, Australia and to some extent India. We are already aware of the tussle between China and the US over Taiwan, which is strategically important due to its location near Japan and the Philippines in the western Pacific Ocean.
In the G-7 meeting in Hiroshima (Japan), the main agenda was to devise a strategy not only to defeat Russia which is already engaged in war in Ukraine but to also encircle China since it is helping Russia. Russia and China have both responded belligerently to this, China even declining US request for a meeting between US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chinese War Minister Li Shangfu at Singapore. It shows that in the coming days, the Third World War, which is still going on behind the scenes and at the level of mental preparation, may break out open openly. The workers, toiling and poor general masses of the world must start raising their voice to oppose this now itself. What better way to raise anti-war voices than the workers and toiling people of all imperialist countries to ask their rulers to desist from war and, if possible, oust them from power because so long as capitalism and imperialism are there, the war can only be postponed for some time but not eliminated.
We know that after one year of the Russo-Ukraine war, the whole world is now divided or in the process of division into two mutually hostile camps due to the imperialist machinations. The kind of siege that has been planned against Russia and China in the G-7 meeting can only be considered as adding fuel to the already ignited fire. If it continues further, it will definitely concretise the danger of third world war. Let’s look at a brief history of the emergence of this threat of war.
The emergence of two imperialist camps fighting to divide and redistribute the world’s resources for the profits of the monopoly finance capitalists has come to the fore after one year of the Ukraine-Russia war. Two hostile axes now exist openly in the world. One axis is led by Anglo-American imperialism and consists of NATO countries in Europe as well as Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea etc. and commonly referred to as the ‘West’. The second axis has been formed around Russia-China in which Iran is also playing a central role. There is now a constant competition between these two axes for the redistribution of the whole world. To challenge the hegemony of US led bloc, the Russia, China and Iran axis is attempting to bring many other countries to their side. Due to this, the danger of another devastating global war is increasing very fast.
In the ongoing war in Ukraine, NATO has till now been fighting Russia by using the Ukrainians as proxy. But there was also a direct skirmish between the two on March 14 in the Black Sea near Crimea when Russian fighter planes shot down an American pilotless drone. After the downing of the US drone, hawkish US Senator Lindsey Graham called for Russian planes to be shot down in international airspace near the US. Russia called it a declaration of direct US aggression on itself. It seemed as if a direct war between the two groups could start at any time. Similarly, Chinese and American ships almost came into conflict on February 25, close to the Taiwan coast. A few days before this, American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh had revealed that the Nord Stream pipeline carrying Russian gas to Germany was destroyed by the US in an explosion, although the Americans are still denying it to avoid a direct war with Russia. Major US newspapers close to the spy agencies are now spreading the news that this was done by an ‘independent’ pro-Ukraine group. But the truth of who did it is known to everyone.
In brief, the possibility of emergence of a new global order in place of the so-called ‘rules-based world order’ led by international institutions controlled by the US camp has now become stronger. This old-world order meant the monopoly and arbitrariness of western imperialism. As soon as the interests of their financial and industrial capitalists were affected (such as by nationalization of natural resources by a country or restrictions imposed on exploitation by multinational companies), unrestrained coups and murders of heads of states of such countries, instigating fratricidal civil wars, interference by mercenaries or directly by their own forces, as well as sanctions that excluded them from international trade and confiscation of their foreign currency and gold deposits in the London-New York banks etc. were commonly resorted to. Dozens of countries like Cuba, Congo, North Korea, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Iran, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Serbia, etc. had become victims of this imperialist gunboat diplomacy and many had to bow before it.
Due to this history, an anti-Western imperialist mentality was already existing in the many parts of the world and all the emerging capitalist countries were alert to this threat. Many non-western emerging countries like Russia, China, India, Brazil, Turkey, Indonesia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mexico, etc. had started preparations to break free from this trap almost two decades back. These preparations included exploring the possibilities of new international relations, to be self-sufficient in energy, technology and military production, reducing their dependence on one camp, breaking free of dependence on the Western camp in international trade, finance, payments, e-commerce, social media, etc. If we take the example of Indian capitalism, it has taken several measures over last two decades to reduce its dependence on western controlled systems, for example, indigenous financial messaging system reducing SWIFT role in domestic trade and remittances, RuPay card and UPI to replace Visa/MasterCard mediated payments, ONDC e-commerce platform undermining Amazon and Wal-Mart, indigenous missiles and satellite programme, developing NavIc instead of US GPS, encouraging domestic weapons production and bringing down arms imports to only 35% of total purchases, etc. China has kept its entire internet ecosystem free from the control of American tech companies. To some extent Russia has adopted similar practices too. Similar efforts have been made by all the emerging countries. Indonesian President Jokowi said in Jakarta on March 16 – “Be very careful. We must remember the sanctions imposed by the US on Russia. Visa and Mastercard may be a problem.” In fact, after the US confiscation of 600 billion dollars belonging to Russia, all the big capitalist countries have become very cautious about this risk of blackmail.
China, defying G-7 price cap on Russian oil after Ukraine war, has become its biggest importer and gives diplomatic cover to Russia. Iran has also not stopped trade with Russia. It has supplied Kamikaze drones to Russia and has also signed a deal for 100 ballistic missiles (ICBMs). After State visits between three countries namely China, Russia and Iran during the last one year, meetings of their officers also followed. Russian President Putin went to Tehran in July last year after talking to the leaders of Iran and Turkey. The Presidents of these three countries have been meeting each other continuously and are engaged in strengthening mutual relations. It was also seen in Syria that how Russia and Iran helped each other. Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi is engaged in fixing the relationship between Russia and Iran in these matters. Iran welcomed Putin with red carpet. Iran’s oil minister himself greeted Putin after going to Moscow. Last November, Russian security officials visited Iran to discuss “reducing Western pressure” on the two countries.
Syria is an example where Russian and Iranian interests are close to each other. For years, these countries have been trying to ensure that Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad remains in rule. The only objective of both the countries is to stop the American interests from progressing further in Syria. Few weeks ago, the US shot down an Iranian drone that was found in Syria. Despite being embroiled in the Ukraine war, Russia maintains its military base in Syria. It shows that Russia is not ready to withdraw from Syria. The old story of cooperation between Russia and Iran can be seen in Syria. Russia provides air cover in Syria to the forces of both Iran and Syria.
In 2021, a 25-year “Strategic Comprehensive Partnership” has been agreed between China and Iran. This agreement will give China a big foot hold in Iran. It is being described as Iran having sold itself to China. However, Iran’s leadership does not see it this way, as it has instead included Iran as a permanent member of the ‘Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’. It is the largest regional organization not only in population but also in terms of geographical scale and global GDP. Russia is already part of this organization. Iran’s permanent membership in this shows that Iran has now become closer to Russia and China. At the same time, it greatly increases its legitimacy to challenge western imperialism.
As far as India is concerned – it has a historical alliance with Russia and cordial relations with Iran. India’s relations with China have not been good. But it is also true that Xi Jinping and Modi together did not allow the border tension to escalate further. In such a situation, is the China-Russia-Iran trio a cause for concern for India? It seems unlikely as India has good relations with Russia and Iran though not with China. That’s why India will not go for an all-out anti-China stance. India, in fact, has nothing much to do with this alliance. The nature of this alliance is anti-West and not anti-India, and its main objective is to challenge the monopoly, dominance and self-centric wars of the West. Rather, the Indian rulers are taking advantage of the current situation and bargaining with both the camps to get benefits for themselves. Irrespective of the rest of the equation, the rise of this new grouping to confront American imperialism has raised the alarm of a world war. The results of this conflict will be seen all over the world very soon. However, it is also clear that both the factions will restrain themselves from getting into an immediate decisive battle because of the danger of the war becoming nuclear, Hence, the result would be a long, inconclusive and protracted war whose financial burden would further deepen the crisis in the world economy. As this burden is sure to be transferred on the common people, public anger will also erupt. Due to the rise of fascism and militarisation, the exploitation and oppression of the people will intensify further, the result of which will ultimately be revolutionary.