Desperate to overcome its crisis of overproduction and to maintain the rate of profit of its biggest corporate monopolies, US imperialism is more and more relying on constant and continuing war to create new markets.
The characteristics of imperialism were defined by Lenin in his significant work, Imperialism, The Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916). “Imperialism is capitalism in that stage of development in which the dominance of monopolies and finance capital has established itself; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun; in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed.”
Since Lenin’s time, while the goals remain the same, US imperialism has become more sophisticated, more cunning and more frenzied with its methods.
Direct invasion and colonial conquest has been replaced with various forms of neo-colonial control of foreign economies through compliant puppet governments, IMF “aid programs”, and financial dependency.
Governments in countries where there is even a small degree of resistance to imperialist takeover are abused, undermined, sabotaged and subject to economic sanctions. Opposition groups are set up, financed and directed by the CIA, then mobilised to cause maximum chaos.
Examples are Cuba, Venezuela, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, etc., plus countries in Eastern Europe following the complete collapse of Soviet revisionism in the nineties.
When this hasn’t worked, US imperialism resorts to outright military aggression and conquest to achieve its aims of securing new markets.
Reconstruction – A new imperialist market
In countries invaded by US imperialism, huge profits are made by the monopolies directly supplying the US military with weapons, food and transport etc., to smash the resistance of local forces and establish an occupation.
In the process, not only are countless thousands slaughtered by the savagery of modern weaponry, but the whole infrastructure is systematically destroyed. This is well known. It has happened in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.
What is not so well known are the huge profits being made by US monopolies involved in the so-called ‘reconstruction phase’. These profits represent a transfer of American taxpayer dollars to selected monopoly groups and contractors, in effect, a ‘clawing back’ of the wages and benefits won by the working people of the United Sates.
Halliburton, with close ties to the US war-monger Dick Chaney, was a leader in this pack.
A recent report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction to the US Congress documented US$60 billion handed over to various monopolies and private contractors over a nine year period. Some was used for dodgy reconstruction work, but at least US$8 billion is unaccounted for, probably handed out in bribes and corruption. Including military spending, the overall cost for the US invasion of Iraq was an estimated $767bn.
According to the report, between 2003-2004 US$10 billion in hard cash travelled to Iraq in US military planes.
Among other things, the report estimated nearly 30,000 “private security contractors” feeding on the ongoing crisis in Iraq.
It documented a number of expensive reconstruction failures, making a mockery of US claims to ‘help’ the people of Iraq.
Basra Children’s Hospital – US$345 million – unfinished
Fallujah wastewater plant – US$100 million – unfinished
Mosul dam – US$27 million – unfinished
Nassiriya water treatment plant – US$277 million – never worked
US imperialism thrives on war, it profits from war and the threat of war, and it profits from the mess it leaves behind. It is truly, as Lenin said, “parasitic or decaying capitalism”.
It has to go.