Senza Censura N. 2 – Giugno 2000




The European Community as a great Power


After the end of the air raids against Yugoslavia, the construction of a "new NATO" has come into the limelight of bourgeois mass media and in the agenda of the various summits of the Western powers.

During the campaign co-ordinated - even if with a few difficulties - by the air forces of 14 countries operating from 47 different air bases, the urgency of a common political-military direction in war operations has strongly come out, only temporary overcome by the advisory permanent system of meeting created among the five major NATO countries (the so-called "Quint").

This problem can't obviously be solved by transitory means, as it includes the strategic issue of the global realignment of the hierarchies among imperialist states and the operational redefinition of functions and spheres of influences of the imperialistic poles.

All that has arisen and will arise inter-imperialistic contradictions and conflicts between both the Atlantic shores that so far have not taken an antagonistic character. On the contrary, they seem to favour and speed the strengthening of transatlantic relationships at the expense of the other options of management of the global supremacy.

Symptoms of this trend are the flop of the WTO summit in Seattle and the difficulties shown in choosing the successor of Mr. Camdessus as the president of the IMF.

The difficulties to find an acceptable agreement for the integration of the new emerging powers - especially China and India - in the mechanism of neo-liberalism match with the innovating choice of Horst Kolher as the president of the IMF.

Bretton Woods agreements, which attributed the direction of the IMF to an European man as the representative of the countries allied with the US in the second post-war period, represented and crystallised the financial balance among the imperialistic powers. The current choice, decided between both the Atlantic shores, expresses a realignment in the balance of power in the financial field, and gives the core of European imperialism the responsibility of  keeping in balance the main economic and financial agency of control of the imperialist bourgeoisie. 

That points out the vital interest for the US imperialism  - after the end of so-called bipolar world - to strengthen strategic alliances in order to keep the global domination. The solution is neither firm nor conclusive but the current transatlantic relationships look much more alike those which marked the relations between Great Britain and the US in the passage from the old colonialism to the imperialist stage of capitalism.

The document approved by the heads of state who participated in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Washington, reasserted the functional interest in a common organization in consideration of the "variety of the risks, military and not", of "the instability within and around the Euro-Atlantic area" (The Alliance's Strategic Concept, April 23-24 1999). The US have also reasserted the necessity of a burden sharing for the European countries in the edification of the second mainstay of the Alliance: the European Security and Defence Identity (ESDI).

From this point of view, the European Council held in Koln (June 1999) has defined a broad calendar aimed at reaching the full operativeness of the European Army and General Staff within 2003, the European Community summit in Helsinki has formalised the setting up of the first European Army Corps, and the groups of the growing European military-industrial complex are addressing their investments to the aerospace and aeronaval industry. And since the economic and geo-political stakes are very high, the process won't be linear nor unopposed.

The Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has recently maintained that the setting up of the ESDI must respect the so-called 3D clause: no decoupling, no duplication, no discrimination. But here the conflict is between the (European and American) supporters of a new NATO as the Euro-Atlantic partnership of global control and the (European and American) supporters of a European mainstay of the alliance as a power of regional control, and not between the supporters and "enemies" of the ESDI.

The US foreign policy seems to have definitely abandoned the Reagan's strategy of overwhelming forces operations, applied in the Eighties and culminated with the Gulf War, in favour of a lift and strike strategy applied during the war against Yugoslavia. On the one hand, that represents the implicit admission that the US can't play a role of "unipolar command" of the imperialist bourgeoisie. On the other hand it underlines the necessity of a strategic consensus of the "friend" powers. As the secretary of the Defence William Cohen has artlessly admitted in July 1999, the aggression against Yugoslavia had not only "a humanitarian aim, but also a strategic one": to protect the regional stability in Europe, and especially in the South-Eastern area.

Therefore, up to now the problem of the European rearmament seems more quantitative than qualitative.

This rearmament should produce much more immediate effects on the process of definition of the institutional balances within the European Community and its member countries.

The discussion about the solution of these problems was started in the recent Summit of the Defence and Foreign Ministers of the European Community held in Brussels (MARCH 2000) and will probably continue in Florence too.

It isn't by chance that the current co-ordinator of the common foreign and security policy (PESC) and also the General Secretary of the European Community is Javier Solanas, the same man who played a major role in the bombings against Yugoslavia as the general secretary of the NATO. Solanas has reasserted that in any case "many European countries will be obliged to a painful restructuring of the armies and to allocate supplementary funds for the defence". He has also said that the future structures of the ESDI must have seat and functions independent of the governmental bodies of the European Community as it is a body "separable, but not separate from the NATO".

But in the balance of the Euro-Atlantic partnership as well as the connected issue of the institutional set-up within the European Union the issue of the political control of the European army will be included too.

H. Schmidt and Valery Giscard D'Estaing have recently written in a common document that it's necessary to speed up the process of transferring the sovereignty of the EC states as well as the definition of the federal constitution that will assign full power to the federal government Council and Parliament. This document prepares the next Chirac's political initiative in Germany, where he will present to the Bundestang the French-German agreement on the matter in June. 

After all, beyond the apparent "diplomatic" contradictions, nobody questions any more the necessity of the European rearmament, the constitution of a military strength - at least at the regional level - and the direct assumption of the economic and political-military responsibility in the control of its near-foreign.

Therefore, to consider the Balkan conflict as the direct repercussion of the competition Euro-dollar is a narrow, misleading and one-sided thesis. It doesn't consider that the global domination of the imperialist bourgeoisie is now very old and that in order to keep it "painless" changes of hegemony and re-definitions of the hierarchies among states or groups of states could take place (as it happened for Great Britain and the US in the first half of the 20th century). As the contradictions within the people, also the contradictions within the bourgeoisie do not necessarily become antagonistic.

In the capitalist mode of production, the contradiction between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat is of the antagonistic kind, as well as the one between the capital and labour. This structural contradiction forces the ruling social system to continuously "revolutionise" its mode of production and the political systems of domination.

The afore-mentioned thesis also underestimates that the division of Europe tends to redefine not only the  balance of force among the imperialist poles, but also and mostly that within the European pole in the process of definition of the European Community as a great power.

It doesn't evaluate adequately that the Western neo-expansionism coming out after the end of the bipolar world, was "build on the sacrifices imposed on the Western  proletarians  (denationalisation of social services, limitations of the right to strike, massive dismissals, general attacks against the conditions of life of the proletariat) and on the poverty imposed on the  proletarians of the Third World (destruction of subsistence economies, starving,  imposition of pro-Western governments  subordinate to the genocide policies of the IMF and World Bank)" (as we wrote at the beginning of the war against Yugoslavia).

It doesn't evaluate that the transformation of the near foreign Europe in the periphery of the European Community will require the economic and military direct involvement by the European countries and especially Italy more and more. And that the use of violence will become a structural element of the political domination within and outside the "fortress Europe".

This process will probably speed up the anti-democratic process under way in the imperialist countries of the European Community and will intensify the attack against the economic conditions and the rights of the Western proletariat.

All that makes more and more evanescent the mirage of the social Europe, capable of guaranteeing a "decent" life to European workers, and relaunches the necessity of an anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist movement aimed at the liberation of the oppressed classes in the European Community and in the countries oppressed by European imperialism.