By PAULINE EASTON
Since the Liberal Party and Justin Trudeau took over the Government of Canada following the October 19 federal election, it has become very clear that this government, like the Harper government before it, is a war government. At a time the U.S. imperialists are readjusting their policies to make sure their striving for world hegemony succeeds, once again Canada is hitching itself to the U.S. imperialist war chariot, especially the measures they are taking to control what goes on in Europe and to dominate Asia. In light of the dangerous developments which are taking place, it is important to remember that while the policies of the big powers have always played a significant role, the decisive role belongs to the working people.
A brief review of the history of the world since the Russian people successfully carried out the Great October Revolution confirms this fact. They established an anti-war government which took Russia out of the First World War and resolved the inter-imperialist contradictions of the period in favour of the people.
The coalition which was formed during the Second World War against fascism also needed to be strengthened with the vital role played by the working people. This too is a fact. It is also true that following the war, the decisive role played by the people in winning the victory over fascism receded slowly into the background. This is because the coalition formed to fight fascism was made up of countries which had systems diametrically opposed to one another and it was to split no sooner than the war ended. Two distinct problems became mixed up. One was the resolution of the major contradictions of the period; the other, the problem of the geopolitical interests of the big powers.
The Soviet Union played a colossal role in the liberation of the peoples during the Second World War. Its assistance to the wars of national liberation in Europe and Asia created a distance between it and its former allies, especially the U.S., Britain and France. These big powers pursued their geopolitical interests to cover up that they refuse to address the major contradictions of the time. The geopolitical aspect, the politics of the big powers to decide the fate of the entire world, brought these powers into a collision course with the USSR within a matter of two years after the war. To justify their abandonment of the cause for which the peoples had sacrificed so much, they launched the Cold War and argued the need for inter-state imperialist blocs. They portrayed Soviet support for anti-fascist national liberation wars and for anti-colonial struggles and for the working class movement for emancipation as a communist conspiracy to take over the entire world. This crusade by the U.S., Britain, Canada and other countries against communism and the Soviet Union was unleashed on an even more reactionary basis than before the war. Besides the use of covert wars and black ops to overthrow communism, they adopted the disinformation methods pioneered by the Hitlerites during the war to justify the crimes they started committing against the peoples of the world in the post-war period.
Since the latter part of the 1950s to this day, the big powers have established their stranglehold over the affairs of the world which they monopolize. But despite their efforts to keep the peoples of the world under their dictate, and the crimes they have committed, the peoples of the world have continued to wage wars of national liberation and resistance struggles. Time and again these struggles have proven, both when they have been successful and when they have failed, that the role of the people in establishing their own aims and organization to achieve them is vital if the outcome is to favour their interests.
Today, instead of renewing the principles which govern international relations so as to achieve the peoples’ cherished desire for peace, the big powers persist in blocking the path to progress by imposing their geopolitical outlook. This outlook first emerged at the end of the 19th to the beginning of the 20th centuries, once the era oflaissez-faire capitalism had come to an end and the world became monopolized ushering in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution.
As a political doctrine, geopolitics seeks to justify imperialist expansion with references to economic and political geography. As a strategic doctrine it was taken up by fascist states and their intellectuals in the Second World War to justify territorial conquests. After the Second World War it became the domain of U.S. imperialist acolytes who took up the geopolitical “Heartland Doctrine” and its variations in U.S. presidential doctrines to justify the “Containment of Communism” and the national liberation struggles.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the former people’s democracies in the 1989-90 period, the big powers have persisted in promoting this geopolitical outlook which puts the competition between imperialist blocs or between the big powers and regional powers in the primary position and mobilizes their resources accordingly. They seek to explain this competition, war and aggression through external factors such as the need for this or that power to control key strategic geographical zones in the name of high ideals.
With the onset of the retreat of revolution, geopolitical analysis has gained prominence not only in the official ruling circles but even among left-wing and independent analysts of international affairs.
With the onset of the retreat of revolution, geopolitical analysis has gained prominence not only in the official ruling circles but even among left-wing and independent analysts of international affairs. The main feature of this geopolitical outlook is to see the primary factor in imperialism or international conflict generally as the competition between imperialist blocs, between imperialist blocs and world and regional powers and their need to control key territories, strategic zones, markets, energy, trade and security corridors where the peoples must not be allowed to play any independent role whatsoever and their resistance must be crushed.
Above all else, it rejects the dialectical and historical materialist outlook which recognizes the internal basis of change, development and motion in society and the vital role of the people in defining the outcome, including on the crucial questions of war and peace. In opposition to the need of the peoples for anti-war governments, theories are adopted which put the initiative in the hands of the big powers. In this regard, geopolitical analysis denies that the epoch of imperialism also contains within it, as its integral part, the proletarian revolution. This is to present imperialism as all-powerful and deny the necessity for the Proletarian Front to establish anti-war governments which ensure the cause of peace prevails. On the basis of a geopolitical analysis of unfolding events, theories of multipolarity in the post-Cold War period are presented as an alternative to the U.S. imperialist striving to become the sole superpower on the basis that Might Makes Right.
A geopolitical outlook is pushed to make sure the people hand over the initiative to the big powers to bring about peace, even if the pursuit of geopolitical interests leads to war. Everything is done to embroil the people to take up the geopolitical outlook of the big powers so that they cannot play their vital role. It is for this reason that the disinformation of the new Liberal government and all its agencies, as well as the monopoly-owned media and official think tanks, no matter whether they are from the official left or the right, presents events which unfold not within the context of the major contradictions of the period and how to resolve them in favour of the peoples, but in the context of the geopolitical interests of the big powers. The role reserved for the people is to support the big power politics of one side or the other and everything is done to deprive them of their own thinking and ability to build a united front to realize their striving for an anti-war government which will make sure their interests are defended.
It is important for Canadians who cherish the cause of peace to discuss these matters and make sure they do not permit the war preparations of the new Liberal government to go unopposed.
1. The geopolitical outlook which viewed countries as organisms struggling for Lebensraum or living space, was first put forward by a German geographer named Friedrich Ratzel shortly before the First World War. Its other proponents at that time were Halford Mackinder (Britain) and Admiral Alfred Mahan (USA).
The term Geopolitics was subsequently used by Rudolf Kjellen, a Swedish scholar, who, in hisStaten som Lifsform used the arguments of Malthusianism to justify the imperialist approach to geographical space. In 1923-27 a study group organized by the German journal Geopolitikproclaimed Geopolitics a special science distinct from conventional political geography. Karl Haushofer and Erich Obst, the leaders of this group, applied Geopolitics to the political objectives of Nazism.
After the 2nd World War, Geopolitics won adherents in the United States (Nicholas J. Spykman, etc), Canada (Thomas Greenwood), and particularly in Federal Germany (Carl Schmitt, Hans Grimm, Alfred Hettner, Adolf Grabowski, etc.)
(Dictionary of Philosophy. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1st ed. 1967)
2. The “Heartland Theory” was expressed by Halford Mackinder as follows:
“Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland;
who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island;
who rules the World-Island commands the world.”
Gerald Roe Crone explains Mackinder’s contribution as follows in The Encyclopaedia Britannica:
“Studying the prerequisites for a stable peace settlement during World War I, [Mackinder] developed a thesis in political geography that he had first outlined in a paper read to the Royal Geographical Society in 1904, ‘The Geographical Pivot of History.’ In it he argued that interior Asia and eastern Europe (the heartland) had become the strategic centre of the ‘World Island’ as a result of the relative decline of sea power as against land power and of the economic and industrial development of southern Siberia. His extended views were set out in a short book, Democratic Ideals and Reality, published early in 1919 while the Paris Peace Conference was in session. The role of Britain and the United States, he considered, was to preserve a balance between the powers contending for control of the heartland. As a further stabilizing factor, he urged the creation of a tier of independent states to separate Germany and Russia, much along the lines finally imposed by the peace treaty. The book included, apart from the main theme, many farsighted observations — e.g., his insistence on the ‘one world’ concept, the need for regional organizations of minor powers, and the warning that chaos in a defeated Germany would inevitably lead to dictatorship. The book attracted little attention in Britain but rather more in the United States. There was an unexpected sequel, however, for the concept of the heartland was seized upon by the German geopolitician Karl Haushofer to support his grand design for control of the World Island. Thus, during World War II there were suggestions that Mackinder, through Haushofer, had inspired Hitler. More sober evaluation disposed of this absurd notion, and, though developments have affected some of the arguments, the thesis is recognized as an important view of world strategy. In 1924, mindful of the lessons of World War I, Mackinder published his prophetic theory of the Atlantic community that became reality after World War II and assumed military form in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In his hypothesis — which remained largely unnoticed — Mackinder argued that the power of the Eurasian heartland could be offset by western Europe and North America, which ‘constitute for many purposes a single community of nations.’ […]
“In 1919 Mackinder went as British high commissioner to southern Russia in an attempt to unify the White Russian forces and was knighted on his return in 1920.”
Source: TML Weekly, February 13, 2016