The world is still submerged in the tragedy of the pandemic. But while the rich countries have, for better or worse, set up defense systems, vaccinations and guaranteed access to care, the rest of the planet barely knows what a vaccine looks like, since the profits of multinational drug companies and the dogma of private ownership of patents still rule. Meanwhile, on those desolate territories under domination, the energy crisis and the climate crisis, already expected for some time, are undeniably kicking into high gear.
On the agenda in the international and national forums should be the design of a new welfare system, the protection of public health care through massive funding, protection against increases in the cost of living, and new rights such as basic income to respond to the encroaching unemployment—as “full employment” is a promise that capitalism is no longer able to offer.
Likewise on the agenda should be the ecological transition that would focus on renewable and sustainable energy—however, in Italy we are back to glibly debating about nuclear reactors.
Instead, what is actually happening? The fact is that war remains the enduring core of every investment for the future. And that the “meek” American president Joe Biden, oblivious to any lessons from Afghanistan, has launched a new military mega-agreement, a sort of NATO of the Pacific.
It involves two trusty allies, Boris Johnson’s UK, which has made a fine show of itself in the Trumpian era with the anti-EU Brexit, and Australia, which has always followed every American warmongering adventure.
It is a pact that is further shaking up the credibility of the Atlantic Alliance, a remnant of the Cold War which has nonetheless been waging war after war for two decades. We have witnessed its failures unfold before our eyes in the last 20 years, from the Balkans—is there really anyone who thinks that “humanitarian” war has stabilized the internal crises there, in Southeastern Europe?—to the smoldering disaster of Libya, all the way to the 20-year catastrophe of Afghanistan.
The export of democracy at gunpoint has failed, the military occupations have failed, the collateral effects, including the killings of civilians, are still on the books as “our” unpunished war crimes, and the adversaries are back in power everywhere, if not even stronger than before.
Now the enemy is China. Thanks to Deng Xiaoping’s capitalist way, China has allowed international capitalism to save itself with the special zones, joint ventures, and guaranteed hyper-exploitation of a workforce of billions of people; now, the Silk Road, its “international economic vision,” is the fearsome prospect.
And since every ideological clash has been dead for some time, the new wars are openly commercial: hence the military control of the routes by nuclear-powered submarines—the old gunboats of colonialism—by the new Pacific powers.
How much does a nuclear-powered submarine cost? The latest model can be bought at the modest price of about $10 billion—according to data from the USMI Naval Institute, which cites a U.S. Navy Report.
There’s plenty to say about the Atlantic Alliance. The European allies have been excluded from everything, from the retreat-flight from Kabul and now also from this latest Pacific Pact, which dangerously extends the prospect of nuclear submarines to even more countries—bringing the fury of France, which “regrets” the fact it had signed a similar pact with Australia. Macron’s reaction is certainly not “pacifist” outrage, but the protest of a representative of the military-industrial complex who was not invited to the partition of the cake.
One is not far from the conclusion that we’ve had enough of NATO. Among the other damage it causes, there is that of subordinating and subsuming the currently non-existent foreign policy of the European Union, now also struggling with the authoritarianism of EU countries (such as Hungary and Poland) which in the meantime have become hyper-Atlantic.
But no sign of that. Ursula von der Leyen’s speech to the European Parliament seems to suggest that yes, we need “European defense,” but without saying what will happen to the duplicate commitments to the Atlantic Alliance: namely, the doubling of military spending, for hundreds of billions of euros in total, which each allied country must bear, starting from Italy, which hosts dozens of nuclear bombs on its territory and a scattering of military bases and foreign fiefdoms that have been undermining its independence, including of the territorial kind, for a long time.
And what will happen to the doubling of missions of equal opportunity employment that NATO has set up for every part of the world—from Europe to the Middle East, from Africa to Asia—after its “reform” in April 1999, when it was transformed from a defense organization into one of offense and rapid intervention, naturally for “humanitarian” purposes?
What is said to be needed—and this is in fact the EU’s commitment in the midst of unmitigated Covid and in the midst of the energy and climate crisis—is a “rapid deployment force,” according to all European leaders: 5,000 soldiers trained in everything, ready to intervene with deadly force in any crisis that may arise.
But after the Afghan tragicomedy, isn’t it legitimate to ask: where? How? And above all, to achieve what? Because the crises that will open up are infinite in variety, produced by the unequal system that guides the destiny of humanity.
What are we going to do with the weapons we have smuggled out on a massive scale through our precious military-industrial import-export trade, with the results being the many wars started in every corner of the planet? From which we got in return the blood-soaked trail of returning terrorism and the drama of migrants that “Western civilization” has learned to relegate to new, and terrifying, concentration-camp facilities.
Now is indeed the time to say, “Enough!”
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