Op-Ed

Published on April 15th, 2017 | by David Keil

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Imperial U.S. Dilemma: How Aggressively to Press Russia

Washington has been so divided over U.S.-Russia relations today that the President has accused his predecessor of wiretapping him (with FBI or other state collusion) before the election. And the FBI director has contradicted the President – a confrontation at the very top of the imperial state.

The President has apparently resolved the confrontation over Russia by sending dozens of Tomahawk missiles to attack an airbase of Russia’s ally, Syria. Russian forces are active in the Syrian civil war. Now Republicans and Democrats are more or less agreed on risking military confrontation with Russia, but Democrats are investigating direct ties between the Trump administration and influential Russians.

This debate has reflected an apparent divide within the ruling elites and within their parties about how to deal with Russia – as a sometimes partner or as a permanent adversary and target. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the bureaucracy there began to privatize production into the hands of powerful oligarchs. Washington, instead of welcoming Russia as an ally, led its NATO junior partner states to expand the anti-Russian military alliance to the borders of Russia, threatening the oligarchs. This led to a war in the country of Georgia in 2005 and a U.S.-supported coup in Ukraine in 2014 that elevated the influence of neofascist groups and ignited a civil war that goes on today.

The U.S. has taken NATO military forces to countries bordering Russia. A U.S. Senate committee showed its support for an extreme, aggressive stance toward Russia March 27 when it approved the inclusion in NATO of the tiny Balkan state of Montenegro, formerly part of Yugoslavia. The majority of Montenegro’s population opposes participation in NATO.

The Republicans and Democrats are debating how much to target Russia as a competitor or enemy, and how much to cooperate with it as a capitalist partner. Russia has friendly relations with designated targets of Washington, such as Iran and Syria. It also shares common interests of all the dominant capitalist powers, chiefly to prevent or suppress the outbreak of revolution around the world. Russia crushed Chechnya in the 1990s, destroying its capital city. Russia has bombed populated area of cities in Syria, in collusion with the Damascus dictatorship, as part of a war against all opposition in Syria, whether democratic dissidents or Gulf-funded fundamentalists.


About the Author

is a member of the Editorial Board of "The Socialist" and of the Boston Area local of the Socialist Party.



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