Imperialism

Welcome to the new age of the neo-cons

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Will Trump return to the go-it-alone imperialism of the Bush years, asks Simon Assaf

The crisis for US and Western imperialism can only intensify with the advent of a Trump presidency. The go-it-alone policy Trump advocates, which was pioneered by George W Bush’s “new American century”, failed bitterly in Iraq. According to one commentator the coterie who will be running the new US foreign policy will make Bush’s neo-cons seem like “a bunch of old history professors”.

Splinternet

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Malcolmson’s history of the development of the computer and the internet, going as far back as the abacus and punched cards for weaving looms, is readable and informative.

But the text keeps jumping out at you with bald assertions such as, “Industrialisation did not lead to war, which had always existed” and “most human activities including war were steadily taken out of the animal world into the countable, machine world”.

Actually, in the earliest epochs of humanity, before surpluses in food or other goods existed, there was no war.

The use and abuse of the Arab Revolt

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In June 1916 thousands of Arabs rose up against the Ottoman Empire, which had ruled over the region for four centuries. They fought with the backing of the British and French governments, not realising they were being used as a weapon in the First World War, writes Simon Guy.

On 5 June 1916 the ruler of Mecca, Sharif Husayn, called for an Arab uprising against Ottoman rule. The goal, agreed with the British High Commissioner in Egypt, was to unite the Arab people, establish and then rule an independent Arab kingdom, ending 400 years of Ottoman domination of the Arab world. Britain promised funds, guns and grain in return for helping to defeat the Ottomans as part of the First World War.

Syria: from inter-imperial rivalry to inter-imperial crash

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Welcome to Syria

Last month Britain joined the many states dropping bombs on Syria. Simon Assaf talks to Socialist Review about the causes and implications of a crisis in which none of the players have control.

With such a messy situation in Syria, where do we even start?

It’s always a difficulty when you have deep complexities on the ground to start with what’s going on there, it just becomes more and more complex. So I think the best way to view it is from the top.

Imperialism and the new wars in the Middle East

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The decline of US imperialism in the Middle East is fuelling rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Simon Assaf looks at the region as it plunges deeper into violence and uncertainty.

In the heady days of the Arab Spring revolutions, tens of millions of people took to the streets in vast movements for change that raised the possibility of a deep transformation of the region. The retreat of these revolutions has been marked by a return of repression and the unleashing of horrific sectarianism.

A socialist case for Ukraine

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On the anniversary of the fall of Ukrainian President Yanukovych, which marked the onset of the current conflict, Rob Ferguson and Tomas Tengely-Evans interview Volodymyr Ishchenko in Kiev.

RF: Volodymyr, there is currently a crisis over the ceasefire in the east and the retreat from Debaltseve. What is your judgement of the crisis in the east of Ukraine?

Why does Capitalism lead to war?

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Death from the sky

The century since the slaughter in the First World War has been littered with endless more bloody wars. Sally Campbell argues the drive to war is not accidental but inherent in the logic of capitalism.

In the 20 years running up to the First World War there were approximately 100 binding agreements between the Great Powers promising peaceful coexistence. The Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague was set up in 1899 “with the object of seeking the most objective means of ensuring to all peoples the benefits of a real and lasting peace, and above all, of limiting the progressive development of existing armaments”. This was at the behest of the peace-loving Tsar Nicholas II of Russia (nickname: Bloody Nicholas).

Ukraine: a carnival of reaction looms?

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Imperialist rivalry between Russia, the US and EU threatens a carnival of reaction across Ukraine, that pits Ukrainian against Ukrainian, promoting reactionary forces on both sides.

The Geneva agreement signed by Russia, the US, EU and Ukraine, pledging to "de-escalate tensions", looked dead before the ink was dry. Shootings in the eastern town of Slavyansk left three pro-Russian protesters dead.

Ukraine: Torn apart by Imperialism

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Russia's annexation of Crimea, and the rising tensions between east and west, marks an era of heightened competition between rival imperial powers, argues Rob Ferguson.

Russia, the US and the European powers are facing their greatest clash since the Cold War. Following the overthrow of Ukrainian president Yanukovich, the new pro-Western government in Kiev turned to seal a partnership with the EU and Russia annexed Crimea, home to the Russian Black Sea fleet and its route to the Mediterranean.

Tensions are spreading to other "buffer" states on Russia's southern borders. Barack Obama has called on EU leaders to increase their military spending.

Lenin, Luxemburg and the War

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Lenin's critical response to Rosa Luxemburg's Junius pamphlet

Rosa Luxemburg's First World War Junius pamphlet, written in prison and so vividly described by Sally Campbell in February's Socialist Review, was arguably the greatest anti-war statement of the last century.

Its haunting theme, socialism or barbarism, prophetically cast its shadow over the 20th century and continues to do so now.

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