[Translation of a 2007 talk by an editor of GegenStandpunkt]
It is often said that imperialism no longer exists; that is something that belongs to history. There was a Roman Empire and a British Empire, and when an era of imperialism is spoken of, it means the period between 1880 and 1940 when the European great powers tried to grab each others' colonies. When imperialism is spoken of, it means relations of rule between rulers. One state subjugates or annexes other countries. This is the idea of imperialism. All this is no longer. Today there is respect for other states. There is international law and peace.
As a first objection to this: the situation today is not that incredibly peaceful. Intergovernmental relations are also decided by force today, and the Europeans, the Americans and others have to constantly defend their peace-loving community. Every state sees itself threatened by the others, and each claims that it only defends itself against the others. If it were true that each state is only defending itself, then this would only be a big misunderstanding. If it were true that all states are merely defending themselves, then they would be able to leave each other alone. All the same, that is what we are told: NATO is needed only because of the aggressive policy of the Soviet Union. For thirty years, NATO was just there to defend itself. The Soviet Union has disappeared; not NATO. The alleged reason why NATO was needed is gone, but the alliance for defense has not gone away and is today more "on the go" than ever before. It will continue to defend (for example) freedom in the Hindu Kush, says the former German Defense Minister Struck. And not only there. The German military is in at least five locations throughout the world and generally is there only to defend itself; and indeed against others who, interestingly, also only defend themselves. In the days of the Soviet Union, it defended itself against the threat of the West; today the Taliban defends its way of life in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda defends the traditional Islamic lifestyle against penetration by the superior Western means of business and power. Each one defends itself.
The talk of defense is also revealing if it is taken not as a mendacious euphemism, but as a concern. If the Germans at the moment defend their freedom in the Hindu Kush, then it is quite clear that something so unambitious as defense of the national borders means that one defends only in cases of extreme emergency. If a country is thrown back on bare survival, it defends its borders. But defense obviously means something much more far-reaching. World order, international law, or global security are defended. One can see that defense means something more far-reaching than merely securing one's own state's existence against a threat. By defense, one means that one has claims against other states that other states have to accept. It is this claim that is defended. The rights which one state ascribes to itself against another state are defended. And if, over and over again, there is war, then obviously it is because these rights have a substance which is not compatible with what the other state holds as its rights. In other words: if states really just want to be left alone in peace, they don't need to bother their neighbors at all. Then, if there are evil neighbors, they could build a Great Wall of China and settle comfortably behind it. If they didn't want anything from each other, they wouldn't have conflicts. That they have conflicts, that they have something to defend, is always a reflection of the fact that they want something from other countries. This is an important point: the interests that states have in each other brings the states into conflict with each other -- not the desire to be left alone. That's why these interests, the substance of the incompatibility that makes them threaten each other, should be correctly determined.
It's about the connection between the world market and world power. Before one accepts this connection, it is helpful to take a quick look at the views that exist about it. One often hears the judgement that capitalism has something to do with war. Somehow, the world market is responsible for the conflicts of the world powers. But if one follows the explanations, this alleged connection is withdrawn. For example, people who are against America's Iraq war say: Bush went to war because he is a representative of the oil industry or a company such as Haliburton. He represents the interests of this group. The war is about the appropriation of Iraqi oil and/or opportunities for companies like Haliburton to do business. The idea is to find an economic reason for the war that lies behind it. They ascribe its basis to a certain faction of capital or an industry. One has to say against this that, if nothing else, there are plenty of companies in the U.S. that would like to do business with Iraq and see their interest damaged by the war with Iraq. If a nation like the U.S. starts a war, then it is not because a capitalist or an industry says: that would be quite good for me. In this respect, one forgoes the task of determining a national interest, an interest a country has in a war. This argument disconnects the national interest from the event when it is said that Bush listens only to the interests of an industry, rather than the interests of others.
We hear also that trade with the Third World is expropriation, trade is robbery, the raw materials are seized from them. Of course, raw materials are delivered from these countries. But the idea that the conflict comes about because something is expropriated from them is really no longer the case in today's world. Robbery is not the principle of the world market. One has to notice that today what is received is paid for. The U.S. also does not obtain commodities against the wishes of those who do not want to sell these commodities there. So one has to explain how a conflict exists in ordinary buying and selling, and it is insufficient to explain the conflict between states by resorting to images from the past. It is true that the Spanish stole the Mayans' gold, that colonialism was a form of robbery. The mother country overthrows the local power, and makes itself the owner of the natural resources there. Today it is different. Someone who accuses today's governments of robbery actually accuses them of engaging in conflicts that do not fit the world market today. They accuse the great powers of deviating from the good principles that should really be valid. It must be said against this that conflict comes about through buying and selling, and not as a consequence of buying remaining undone and plunder stepping in its place.
By saying that today's wars are leading to the neocolonial oppression of the Third World, one explains the will to domination and profit with images from the past. However, no state wants to return to colonialism. If a state undertakes a regime change, it wants to establish a new sovereign state which fits in its order as a sovereign state. One must see the conflicts in the relations of modern states in the principles of buying and selling, trade drives, etc., and not in alleged deviations from them. Someone who wants to grasp the conflict in a deviation doesn't believe that something bad can be taking place in buying and selling, but holds it to be a fair relation.
Political science makes the disconnection overt. It says, on the one hand, there are economic interests that states have in each other, but these interests are still guided by mutual benefit. It also claims that there is still a power struggle between states. But it then lies in human nature, or is otherwise unexplained, and has nothing to do with capitalism and the world market. The connection is not explained, so the economic interests are said to be consensual, but on the other hand a power struggle is postulated that in and of itself is no longer explainable.
What is the interest that states have in each other? What is the utilization of other states through peaceful relations? Let's take a digression into history. Why aren't states self-sufficient? Why don't they stay at home? It's not only in the capitalist era that states go beyond their borders. It was always like that. Why? Answer: because they rule. Rule is somewhat peculiar: a power over people which has a purpose, to pay for itself and its needs through the people and what they produce. Rule would not be needed if the ruler was the same as the people who are subjected to it. If it didn't want something from the people that they don't want themselves, rule would be meaningless. It makes use of the wealth that comes under its authority for itself and its power and thereby reduces it. Rule is parasitical on its basis for existence. Therefore, each state's basis of existence is always too small. It reduces it by its own existence and seeks to expand it to increase its means of power. This is circular, and this principle is ancient.
In this respect, the bourgeois state is no different than any other state, but its means are different. The inherent boundlessness of wanting ever more means of power to increase its power is not new; the economic means are new. And internally an important innovation is ascertained. For states, capitalism is a much more attractive means for a basis of existence than pre-capitalist societies.
This is also the reason why states all over the globe have adopted this economic and social order. One state, because it has adopted the English model, another state because it has lost wars against the English and noticed that it declines if it is not as powerful as the English. What is the payoff for a state power in capitalism? The state does not have to wrest its sources of wealth from a stationary mode of production and thereby reduce them, but rather the state establishes, through its guarantee of property, the standpoint that the increase of wealth is embodied in the people themselves. It does not have to prescribe the "more" that it appropriates domestically, but in the society itself there is a tendency to that "more" in the form of the conflict of interests between entrepreneurs and the conflict between workers and capitalists who use the willingness to work of those who are dependent on employment in order to increase their wealth. And the state is in the comfortable position of being able to participate in an ever-enlarging surplus through taxes. The basis of its power grows by itself. This is the charm that all states have discovered in capitalism.
Most glaringly, this lesson has been carried out by the former Soviet bloc. They once intended to create a different economic mode. Gorbachev's need for reform was born out, so they wanted the basis that we have. It seemed to the Kremlin that constantly having to enact a plan and then to struggle with the inertia of the society, which produces nothing by itself, was much more uncomfortable to preside over than a capitalism in which growth is an inherent purpose and does not have to be wrested by state command. The modern state promotes the growth of its business community and thus its own basis of existence.
Now here is the reason why states always turn to the outside world: the growth that the state promotes has a border in the reach of its own power. The state always promotes growth policies, but the country's borders then present a limited market, a limited availability of raw materials and resources, a limited potential labor force; there is a limit in the borders themselves. The power that licenses capital, which creates the economic system in the first place, is itself a limit to its growth within its limited range. The first step is not to conquer, but as Genscher said, "We must overcome the borders that divide us" -- a beautiful contradiction. What does that mean? To prevail over the restriction that the country's borders represent to economic activity. One therefor bargains with other states so that they allow one's business people to sell, to buy, and to use labor on their foreign territory.
Even this is a huge advance over the old methods of plundering other peoples. If one state robs another, takes everything away that is not nailed down, then the thing ends with the raid. It can't be repeated, because it's just been robbed. To make use of the capitalist growth of other communities is to continuously utilize the others. To utilize its growth as a means for its own growth over the long term. That's the first attraction to overcoming the borders that divides us. For this purpose, the other sovereign is granted recognition: I recognize that in your sphere of power only what you say counts, that no one may sell without your permission. It recognizes the sovereignty of another state because one wants to utilize it, but this can only be done and only to the extent that it also lets itself be utilized.
Non-recognition of other states is already included in this. That was the reason for the great conflict against the Soviet Union and its block, that they said they wanted nothing to do with the capitalist world market. They wanted to be left alone, at least economically. This position of not making itself useful through trade was a declaration of war, it was so intolerable to this state system. That's why there could never be any peace with this block, but always a kind of cold war. Under capitalist states, a relationship of mutual recognition comes into existence so that one state can use the other, because the other state calculates the same way, only vice versa. The other state also permits trade, but only because it wants to use the other and indeed to strengthen its own growth.
Two states pay their mutual respects and engage in civilized relations because what they want is totally opposed. Each state wants to take advantage of the other state for the growth of its economy. Each state agrees that the other may do business with it in order to open the others' door for its business world. The recognition is valid as long as the other state makes itself accessible, allows itself to be utilized.
The trade balance or the competition over money
The antagonism between the purposes of national economies is not a secret. Each state is an absolute egotist. It gets involved in commerce with other states to benefit itself. It is also not a mystery that this is an antagonism. Popular opinion is unaware of only one thing: namely, that the realization of this concern is truly exclusive; that it can't be good that one state utilizes the other and the other state utilizes it, but that these users are already sorted into user and used. Now it is a question what the competition of nations looks like for their own national capital growth. The first point was that states allow mutual commercial relations in order to utilize other states as sources for their own national wealth. How do they do that? They allow business people to make cross-border transactions. In this way, nations enter into competition for the utilization of the others. It's no secret, everybody knows about the competition between investment sites. Everyone knows that Germany is competing with China, India, etc., but also with France and the Czech Republic; that we must hold our ground in the competition with other locations, or else we'll go under.
When two countries decide to open their borders and allow business people from the other country to do business because their market is too small -- has the market thereby become bigger? If the market that is controlled by both states is too small, then the market they have in common has not been enlarged. Then the capitalists of both sides must reach for it. First of all, they have not increased the market, but decided to expose the capitalists of both countries to a competition. The market can be even larger, namely for the company which prevails in this competition. The purchasing power is absolutely no bigger, but the purchasing power becomes bigger for the firm that prevails in the cross-border commerce and thus throws the other competitors off the market. In this respect, the decision to open one's borders is the decision to enter into a comparison. Two states get involved so that their entrepreneurs compare who produces a commodity cheaper or who brings in a larger profit at a given market price. Both states get involved in this competition only because they want to win it. The country that utilizes the population more successfully to produce a competitive commodity can take advantage of the larger market; the other capitalist can't. Therefore, it is clear that the competition that one enters into opens growth opportunities, but by no means automatically for both sides. In fact, it would be a fluke if it would do so in equal measure for both states. Now the competition of businesses decides which country has the larger market as a growth opportunity to utilize and which doesn't.
One must be clear that this is specifically not about use-value. The use value is the means of earning money. The anti-globalization group Attac says, "I am not an enemy of world trade because I drink coffee." World trade does not take place so that we have coffee. World trade takes place only where entrepreneurs can make a profit. Where that is not possible, the exchange of use values does not happen. The pharmaceutical industry sells very few drugs to Africa because Africans can't afford them. A need for a use value is there, but companies aren't interested in supplying drugs there if a business can't be made with it. The supply of use-values is the side effect of making money and not vice versa.
At this level, each one agrees to use the other as a business sphere, yet it comes about that both sides benefit. For example, the opening of the European Union, in which new states are always attached, may have the effect that they all have growth. And the propaganda for free trade advertises that they can all have growth if they give up tariffs. It is not a zero-sum game because if one state grows, it also becomes larger as a buyer. If a German automobile manufacturer grows and orders its tires from France, then it may compete against French car companies, but it can also be a growth opportunity for the sale of French tires. It is not a zero-sum game at that level. So it is important to distinguish the levels. Growth in varying degrees may well come about on all sides for the participants in world trade.
The first goal may well succeed. As soon as we take the next standpoint, this is out of the question. As soon as we take the standpoint that the states not only want growth and also get growth, but that the states take a balance of their cross-border trade. Then they draw a line under the competition which the entrepreneurs of their country have led against the entrepreneurs of the other countries, they add up what has come about in imports and exports, and this results in a trade balance.
The country which is able to utilize labor more profitably, more productively, can as a result sell more across all sectors. The country that uses labor more profitably can sell more and therefore has a positive trade balance. Imports are also no disgrace. Most of the largest exporters are the largest importers. Vice versa, the country that falls behind in the competition, whose domestic productivity is lower than that of the neighboring country, can't sell that much. Its ability to sell goods shrinks. The country buys, but does not sell. The result is that it has a negative trade balance.
This is not a problem if the trade balance equalizes again over the long term. But if it starts to become a significant amount of time, then there is a clear result. One country can always sell and another country always only buys. Germany is the export champion. That counts as a seal of quality. One never hears of an import world champion. This is more evidence that it's not about use-value. The country that best supplies the whole world with its goods is rich. It would be best of all for them if all the world's labor only took place here. The country that is dominated by the goods of other countries is poor. The country that imports, that receives the goods it wants, that has to purchase use values, is worse off. The country that sends commodities into the world is rich. Why? Because it is about money. Because it is not about fair exchange. If it was only about the exchange of goods or the exchange of goods for money, you might say that because no one wins something, there was no winner, there was no loser. There you give an orange for money. But as a result, countries are impoverished because they always buy and countries become rich because they always sell. Because it's not about the balance of goods and money, but it's about money as the result of the whole transaction. Because money is the purpose of the circuit, the country is poor which imports goods and has to spend its money. In the result, allowing cross-border competition is now quite a decisive thing. The world's export champion could utilize the other in order to enrich itself as a nation off the other in terms of money, namely at the expense of their purchasing power. In the long run, the exchange of goods for money leads to the other side having no more money, a negative balance of trade and an inability to pay any more.
The export of capital or the competition for world money
We have a first but far from complete concept of what a poor country is: a poor country is one that loses out in the international competition for the utilization of other territories as sources of growth for its own economy and therefore runs out of money. That's why it loses the ability to participate in international trade. It can no longer buy. But by no means is this the last word in international competition. This is then the transition to the next point: the export of capital. Money of the world and world money are now the difference involved. Money of the world means first that a country has the world's money and the other has run out of money. And then we remember that in today's world these moneys are all very much national currencies. Money of the world, such as existed in the days of the gold standard when gold was regarded as the money of the world, no longer exists. Thus precisely when a nation has become incapable of trade because it has always lost in trade, the other nations do not say: this country has been sucked dry, let's leave and go somewhere else. Rather, the defeat is once again a business opportunity. The entrepreneurs of a country say: we have out-competed and wrecked the electrical industry of the Greeks; and then the successful European electronics companies can say: we won't export electrical goods, but we'll use Greece as a location for manufacturing our electronics. We'll expand as a company into another territory and take advantage of the market conditions, the tax conditions, etc., there. In general, this is welcomed by the target country, even if it is Greece. De-industrialization through foreign competition has taken place, thus there is the need for foreign capital to come in, use my labor, make sources of money out of my national resources -- my capital can no longer do it -- because my inferiority is the best reason for opening gates and doors. Then wages are again paid, then sales take place, then taxes are paid. The target country, the losing country, wants this. Of course, capital exports go not only to the defeated states and not only from the superior nations. Nowadays, capital exports take place from all states to all states. An exception is the states which have no capital, which thus can't export capital.
There is a higher standpoint than the position on trade: namely, the standpoint of utilizing the other nation not simply as another market where one sells or buy goods for cheap, but of utilizing the other nation as a space for the expansion of one's own capital. For the company, this is a clear matter. Then Siemens or VW grows not just on German soil, with German labor power, etc, but everywhere else. The target country welcomes it. As a rule, the country of origin does too. The German government has nothing against Siemens or VW going abroad because its global players should prevail in the world and this now means that they are taking advantage of every opportunity for favorable production in order to be competitive against the multinationals of other nations, which in turn use the whole world. Second, states are quite sure that there are repercussions on the home location site if a company also grows abroad. Research will be promoted if German companies are allowed to produce abroad, the demand for German goods rises if assembly plants are built overseas, the business of German banks grows if German companies operate not only on a German scale, but internationally. It increases the attractiveness of the German stock exchange when a global company is traded on that exchange, etc. The government counts on there being positive national repercussions. It counts on them even if these repercussions do not occur. Because this effect is not a matter of course -- that because capital goes to another country, then sales activity is created here, wages and taxes are paid here. A state can also regard this as then missing here. There have been complaints in Germany that German companies go abroad and only a small amount of foreign capital comes to Germany. But this has not led the government to place obstacles in the way of companies going abroad. The reaction is always: we must become more attractive to foreign capital; and it is not: we forbid German firms from going abroad. Why? Because they count on these benefits and have another, more fundamental benefit to the nation in mind.
The tough point is to establish what benefits foreign investment brings about for the national money. Up to now, it was about the benefits foreign investment brings or does not bring to the national site. Here it's about an interface, a hinge between business and state power. The difficulty is: what is money? On the one hand, money is the private power of property, separate from the state. Money is property in a leaner and meaner form. With money, you can make everything available to yourself. In a world of private property, we are excluded from all goods in the first place. Everything that is needed and already exists belongs to someone else. One can't take it, although it is there and one needs it. One must buy it, thus satisfying the ownership interest. The owner must consider it remunerative to give away the property. That's why, vice versa, to have money is the power to be able to access everything. Money is the power over others' labor and others' products. Money is the social power that it carries. On the one hand, money is the power of private property separate from the state. On the other hand, money is indeed made by the state: paper titles which are printed according to the government's word; it is a state product. In what way is this product the private power of property? First, just by the fact that there is a state law that requires each owner to accept this note as the final wealth of its owners' interests. There is a legal obligation to accept it as means of payment. The seller can specify how much the commodity costs, but he can't say: I won't take this money. The buyer must pay the price that I ask as a seller, but it is not within my freedom to not accept the money. If the buyer lays down the quantity of money that I ask, I also have to take that money. The power of this piece of paper is based only on the state's guarantee that this slip of paper must be accepted from others. The power of property separate from the state is completely limited within the total range of the state's power and its ability to provide respect for this slip of paper.
Maybe it is worthwhile to recall what the state can do and what it can't do. The state can print the paper and bring it into circulation. The state can confer legal power on it in the sense that the seller must accept it. The state can't decree how much this paper is value. So value and money step a bit apart from each other in today's paper money. Everyone knows that. In the course of a year, the money becomes of less value and then the rate of inflation is counted. That means that value and money are compared. Money is only a relative expression of value in the society. In the outcome, the money is devalued to a certain extent. What the paper is worth depends on what the private sector can do with it, what they produce for commodities and what they disburse for payments, what therefore can actually be done with money. This is decided only by the utilization of money and is not arranged in advance of the state creating money.
This interface of capital power and state power, money, is at first a national product and counts only as far as its command reaches. Beyond that, it doesn't count at all. One is accustomed to dollars being able to buy anything, anywhere. Remember the GDR also had a mark and with it you could buy something in the East, the money was worth nothing outside. That's why in this country it was said that it was fake money. Not true, of course. There was money in the GDR, only the local state didn't allow the use of our money on its territory. Capitalist states handle this differently because these states surmount precisely the reach of their power in the interest of the growth of their capital, meaning: its money wields access. The capitalist states have agreed to make the national labels convertible. What does universal convertibility of currencies mean? It means that the states allow private individuals to exchange one currency for another in unlimited quantities, if the private individuals fancy.
One can and may exchange the national money of one nation into another and thereby get hold of its wealth, of everything that there is to buy there. The exchange of currencies takes place and in that respect all the currencies in the world are universal money. Certainly, they must allow themselves to be measured; that's the price of universality. The price is an exchange rate that says in what measure each national money is universal money, and this then looks very different for different countries and different moneys. Because then the money of a country is a very poor quantity in light of what one needs in order to buy something in Europe or anywhere else in the world. Vice versa, European money is a huge chunk of change in comparison to what you need to shop in India. All currencies are interchangeable, but what they are worth in light of foreign currencies is set by the exchange rate, which is determined by supply and demand and by the money dealers of the big banks. The currency of the world export champion is always used abroad. This is just another way of saying that foreigners want to buy something that is manufactured in Germany and is paid for with German money, in the last instance. It doesn't matter whether the product is purchased in the first instance in Brazil. Somehow the German producer must be satisfied that it will be paid in German money. The world export champion automatically creates a high demand for its money. And countries with weak exports, with an import surplus on their balance sheet, always generate very little demand for their money. The foreign exchange business reacts to it by saying: then we're selling the money in high demand more expensively and the money in weak demand has to be on the table in greater quantity so that it earns a unit of the money in high demand. So exchange rates rise and fall as a result of competitive success in trade.
A good currency -- or, more precisely, the capitalists in a country with a good currency -- export capital because they have achieved growth in their country. In this country, there is still capital that wants to be invested. In other countries, there is a lack of capital, perhaps because they were out-competed. In the other country, foreign investment is needed. The foreign money is invited in. To the extent that foreign money is invited into a foreign country and is active there, the European money applies on Brazilian soil completely without the European sovereign's guarantee of force; without the European sovereign enforcing the use of European money as the legal means of payment. The European money can access the wealth in Brazil, making profits. The foreign country confirms and certifies and gives the national printed papers of a country the character of really universal money in which this money increases itself abroad and continues to do so or returns as increased European money. That is then not at all so important. It is important that this money is needed in other countries as money is used, without the state authority having to force the use of the money.
This leads to some moneys in the world, absolutely independent from and well above the state power of the country which issues it, becoming moneys that are used, invested and increased, and they tend to edge out the local money from business life in other territories. At first, it steps next to the other money, then it competes against the other money as to which is the good money, and ultimately it edges this money out, so that all higher transactions are settled in advance in dollars. Like, for example, in Argentina where U.S. dollars are spent and indeed not only by the Americans, but even by the Argentines themselves. Even the local entrepreneurs then look at their domestic money as a transitional stage to the real money earned by the dollar. So then the whole world gives the dollar the meaning of credit, as they take and use this money and assign it the status of a money that is value everywhere, because they are dependent on foreign capital.
Now there's a new stage of winners and losers. First, who is the growth winner who can then register money growth and who has to register money losses. Here we think of the quantity of money. One has more, the other less. Now we are talking about the quality of money. One nation, by using the world as a capital investors' location, can make its money qualitatively into world money and, by the same act, degrade the money of other sovereigns into merely a local coin for vacation spending, for small circulation as Marxism expresses it, and the real money is the money of the foreign nation that ultimately makes the whole capital location into the means of increasing its own money. Then in the world money quality of their national paper money they not only have the balance of their success in the sense of the quality of their money condensing everything that is good for the nation in terms of growth, trade, capital exports. It is, however, not only the balance sheet, the look back, but in the quality of world money a nation also has the decisive means and power to advance. Because the quality of world money determines how much a nation has the ability to set money into the world without the increase in the quantity of the paper notes being the decline in value of each note. If a nation has a world money that is needed all the time, then this nation has the almost limitless ability to increase money. They can just print the equation that the money they issue is world money, they can't set that the money is value, but they achieve this in practice at least as long as they don't ruin the world-money quality. This can also happen at some point. But it takes a long time. For the owners of the world money the ideal becomes true that when they print more money then more money is not simply in the world because more paper notes are in the world and each single note is therefore less in value. In principle, they can go into debt without limit in their own currency. They can pay all the state expenses which they first need to make the location competitive, for infrastructure, for maintaining the social peace. These states can pay for the debt in their own currency and they can give their capitalists favorable terms of credit. They can create liquidity for their financial institutions. Then their financial capital sectors are the big financial centers of the world. If one needs a loan, one can get it in Frankfurt or New York. Whether one gets it in Bombay is the question. And what the credit is worth is the second question.
These states then succeed, on the one hand, in making the whole world a means of increasing their money. And they use it to strengthen their financial power. And to the same extent, they destroy the financial sovereignty of other states. As mirror images, other states are expropriated, and not only in the sense that they quantitatively have little money, but in that they qualitatively don't have money. If these states try to increase their money, then it is immediately devalued. And if they try to go into debt, then they find that no one gives them credit for their offer in their own currency. If they have to go into debt, these countries are forced to borrow in euros, dollars or Swiss francs. They have to pay their debt with export successes on the world market. They can't finance their debt by debt projection, like the German government does by covering old state debts with new state debts. A country that has no credit can't do that. The assertion of a state's own created money into world money is the same as the elimination of the financial sovereignty of other states. They are then forced to make themselves the means for increasing other moneys and thereby the means for the financial power of other state powers. This all happens through fair buying and selling; free competition leads to such results. As a result, there are states in which one stroke of the pen creates money and other moneyless states which have to make themselves a source of money for foreign sovereigns.
These are all contradictions in which force is already lurking. Why? No state gets involved in international commerce with the Olympic motto "may the best man win." Each one gets involved in international business relations because it wants to use the other to strengthen itself. This utilization now leads to one utilizing and the other being utilized by means of the competition of capitals. But the recognition that one has granted the other, a willingness to let your sovereignty count on your territory, I never touch that because I want to use it, and I also recognize you only as far as I can utilize you. Then the reverse is always in that. If the utilization doesn't turn out the way I thought it would, then the recognition isn't worth much. Then the recognition, the peace between sovereigns, is at risk. Wouldn't the losers revolt? The winners equally have many reasons. The more powerful they become, the more the other is dependent on its money, the more the winners also ask themselves: why should I make even more concessions to this country? The other state's already long been dependent on me; I want nothing more than to use it. I can use this country with my superior power, the other state needs my market, I have money to be earned. No one can afford not to sell in our market. We can afford not to sell on their market. Through the use of the other country's dependency, the winner uses it even more so against the loser and insists that the terms under which it enters into relations get better and better. Therefore, in the commerce between states, recognition of the other is always controversial. This becomes quite clear in international agreements.
The whole international business of commerce, trade, exchange, capital export, currency comparison, etc., takes place in the form of an agreement between states. And the contract is not, as ex-chancellor Schmidt has said, to prevent future differences. A contract is the opposite. This is an agreement where two opposing wills unite on one point. If people sign a marriage contract, it is not because one likes it. Two wills bind in a contract because, in their conflict, they want to use the other side, and each embarks on a commitment because he wants to commit the other party; no one wants one's own obligation. Each side wants the obligation of the other. Therefore, a contract is a matter that is not finished once it is concluded, but the concluded contract is immediately a subject of dispute between the parties.
At home, this form of mutual commitment of hostile owners' interests has its strength and reliability in the fact that the state is always present in any contract as the third party in the alliance. Two sign a contract which says what one promises to the other. But the contract has its reliability, its usefulness, in that one can take the contract to any civil court and say: the other doesn't fulfill their contractual obligations. And then the state comes in and its power is neither at the disposal of one contract partner or the other. The state enforces not only compliance with the promise, but the state is also the decisive interpreter of what would be generally consistent. Because that really lies in the nature of the thing. Two promise a service, each one wants the service of the other, but no one wants to provide the service oneself. No sooner is a contract concluded than one side says: that is not what I meant, I didn't want to promise that. So there's a judge who decides what they have agreed to in the contract, because what the state decides counts. What they meant, what they have agreed to, is in the end all the same. Only with a superior force does the binding of both wills work. That is the contract at home.
What do contracts between states look like? These contracts are very peculiar. Also here one gets involved with the other, each promises something because it wants the delivery of what the other side promises, and each dislikes delivering what is wanted from it. Here there is no judge who says what has been agreed to and forces the fulfilling of the contract. Now each of the two partners in the contractual relation want not only to be the party that has entered into the contract, but each claims to also be the judge and the interpreter. Any contract between states is an affair between sovereigns who can be compared to the other as the guarantor of the contract.
This is the transition to the will to domination between states. Up to this point, we only had the states' will to utilization. Because utilization is a relation of wills between two sovereigns, each wants to equally define the obligation of the other. This is the interest in control and domination between states, which the next part deals with.
Today it was about the question where the conflicts of states stem from if they mutually agree in a business relation, where it is actually bought and paid, where no one snatches anything away from anyone else. Competition for growth, competition for money appropriation, competition for world money -- everything is included in this, all the way up to the elimination of the other sovereign as a financial power. The separation of moneys shows that there are moneys that are just local moneys and moneys that are world money. This division is now far advanced. There is the dollar, there is the yen, the Europeans had to club together so that they work out something like that. And other than that, there is really nothing else. There are marginal currencies like the British pound and the Swiss franc which have a certain weight. All other currencies have to see that they are exchanged against the major currencies which are the real money of the world. In them, the big stock market transactions take place, the large financial investments. The divorce of the world of states is accomplished through transnational capitalist business relations.
The topic is the relation between the economic utilization of nations and their control by force. In economic utilization, one nation engages in business transactions with another in order to utilize its resources (raw materials, labor markets, markets, etc.) and strengthen its own national growth. And the other nation gets involved in these cross-border transactions because it calculates exactly the same way, only in reverse. Each side wants to utilize the other for its own benefit. This is their economic egotism. The utilization which both sides egotistically want does not end with both sides getting their money's worth. Rather, the course of private competition, which the states permit between themselves, leads to a widening gap between those national economies which can utilize the others and those national economies which are utilized at their own detriment. At the end of the process, one nation has truly gotten rich off the other, its sources of wealth have increased through its relations with the other, and the other has to register losses in wealth. These are all reasons for states not to bow to the verdict of the market. After all, no state gets involved in international trade according to the Olympic motto "may the best win!" Each state wants to enrich itself from the others, and if that does not turn out the way it imagined, then it has an immediate need to correct the rules of trade, the terms of exchange, the permissions granted across borders, and to negotiate new contracts that guarantee its own national benefit and that make the other state its means. The other side does this as well, and therefore it is clear that this can't happen. The fundamental need for control between nations arises out of this contradiction. Each state gets involved in transnational trade and sees itself terribly imperiled by what it gets itself into -- dependent on its trade partners, dependent on the will of the other sovereign which it knows wants to utilize it and makes itself available to utilize one's own wealth. They take the standpoint: I can only stand this dependence if I can control my partner; if I utilize my partner not only through economic terms, but if I bring its state decision-making under my control.
The subject is the will to control: what does it look like and how is it pursued and what consequences follow from it? First, it must be made clear that the transition to this field is not something completely unknown. Everyone knows that even the smallest state has a security policy. The step to explaining it is that each state can get the other state's dependency only by bringing the other state's decision-making under its control.
One should not think that states resort to violence when they can't get any further with their economies. They do not peacefully enter into trade and commerce and then, when they become dissatisfied with the results, resort to other means, to violence. It is not a non-violent relation. First of all, this is a parallel matter. A state exports capital, allows capital imports, exports commodities, purchases abroad, etc. -- and alongside this relation with other countries, it pursues its security policy. Security policy doesn't wait for economic failure. (Incidentally, this is the mistake of the left, which derives the transition to war from crisis; according to the motto: the whole thing would be great if capitalism would function, but the states become warlike because of crises.) The reality is different. In reality, no matter whether a state is content or discontent with its economic situation, whether the balance sheet looks positive or whether a crisis approaches -- next to this, a security policy is always taking place. A security policy which consists of states in the middle of peace keeping and equipping a standing army. For what, actually? Answer: in case another state "has to or wants to prepare for war." And it arms itself for this case, at any economic stage, regardless of the course of business.
And how much does a state provide for this? In principle, always as much as its national economy permits. In this regard as well, states are not defensive, along the lines that it spends as much as would enable it to withstand an attack. The states are much more generous. They say: let's arm as much as we can without straining the national economy so much that we strangle it. It remains a contradiction that the state promotes money-making and then takes part of the privately acquired property away to spend it on armaments. That always remains a burden on growth. But it is clear that a state that has a large economy, a growing economy, can divert more. And it does.
Of course, it could also arm itself with an eye to whichever potential rival it might be confronted with. But even that is not defensive. Whenever a state builds up arms, it seeks out the rivals with which it will tangle. This is also a nice example of how endless this is. The more power a state achieves militarily, the greater the enemy against which it measures itself. It never about-faces in satisfaction.
Peace is the normal situation between states. This is perhaps different from the times of Alexander the Great. The goal of a state in turning to the outside world is indeed to use the other states to increase its own capitalistic growth at home. That is what takes place in peace. The states do not make war for fun, as the princes were once accused of. It is not frivolously decided on. But the whole peace is an armed peace and it is based on the states' continuous military preparedness. They feel secure in their peace when and because they have a military capability at their back which they then use to threaten other states and to make peace with other states. This is an important point: violence is the basis for the relations between sovereigns. Why does one state listen to another, and how can it be influenced? Because the other state is a power that can't be ignored.
There is the old saying, already valid with the Romans: "Si vis pacem para bellum" -- if you want peace, prepare for war. This was also heard in the debate in West Germany, back when it was about defeating the Soviet Union. We learned this saying and the tone was: one has to prepare for war so that one doesn't have to wage it. One has to be ready for war so that it doesn't come to war. Of course, that was a lie, because if it was true that one can secure peace only by being ready for war, by confronting another country with a threat of destruction, then the enemy can't think that one is arming to avoid war. Then the threat of war must be credible. Then a state must not hesitate when this is on the agenda, because if it hesitates, then the deterrence which it promises is worthless.
If that is called peace, that all prepare for war, then one should not regard peace as the avoidance of war; then peace is a state of affairs in which the threat works satisfactorily for the parties. If the threat is no longer satisfactory, states wage war.
If there is such thing as an international order, then this world order is always the result of the last great war. The current order is based on the fact that the Americans won two great wars. In the end, even three great wars. This is the basis of the present order. Because in the last instance, war decides the sovereign claims of states and a war establishes the hierarchy of relations between states.
Now the following is important. At first we said: states do not wait for failure in order to build themselves up as powers in front of each other, but pursue a security policy alongside the current economic situation. States arm, prepare the means for war, threaten and sometime go to war, in order to correct the power relations produced among themselves. And this foundation of the relationship between states is not something that takes place next to the economic relations between states, but the everyday relations between states become determined on this foundation. Every contract and every contractual fulfillment take place in the shadow of states standing opposite each other as unequal powers. In international law, in the UN, each state is equal and sovereign in its own right, and they take their hats off to each other. When states enter the stage as powers against each other, they are unequal and demand the other engage in unequal power relations.
How does this subsumption of economic relations between states take place under the power relations between states? This happens in such a way that states confront each other and present their interests as rights. What is a right as opposed to an interest? An interest always has the character in relation to an another: I would like you to do this or that. An interest always has the tone: my or only my interest. By contrast, a right has the character that the content demands acknowledgement from the other. If I cast my interest in the form of a right, then I say: I demand that you respect what I want as a demand from you. I insist that you don't calculate what you get from it, but that you respect it. For example, if a landlord and a tenant confront each other and the former says, "she wouldn't even paint the walls," and the other says, "I didn't feel like it," then the landlord says: "but that's my right, that you paint the walls every three years." What is the difference to "you couldn't even paint the walls?" The difference is that it is a demand you have to fulfill.
The nature of violence between states is expressed in states presenting their interests as rights. For example, in the dispute between Russia and Belarus over the price of natural gas, Russia stopped the pipeline for crude oil to the West for a night. The West Europeans shouted at once, "Russia abandons our rights under the treaties! We have a right to know that Russia doesn't use its oil pipeline as a tool in the dispute with Belarus." Russia's standpoint was that it sells the oil voluntary, that it also has the right to turn off the oil valve, and that its oil delivery obligations to the West were not hurt. There was an outage for a day, and the next day twice as much was delivered. Both states stand on the point of view: that is my right. Here it is no longer about the question: I would have liked you to arrange it differently; let's see if we can't reach an agreement. If one brings up a right, one is irreconcilable because then one requires the subordination of the foreign will to one's claim. And this is how all international relations are handled in which different perceptions are presented about what rights one has and requires that the other respect them. The U.S. says that Saddam Hussein does not have the right to obtain weapons of mass destruction. America has the right, of course. Here unequal rights become established because one power confronts the other and says: this is my claim that you have to follow. This subordination is the instrumentalizing of their own violence to enforce their interests. The power that one is as a state is always brought into play as weight when a "sticking point" is fought with the other state. A constant balance is kept. In their diplomacy, they confront and require something of each other and inform the other side -- and the whole world always along with it -- what the balance looks like in terms of subordination. All this is expressed in the "state of relations."
There is an awful lot of material for negotiations. International annuity payments, may German children be extradited to their American father, may the Americans import corn with GMOs, may the Europeans export chicken even though the bird flu is raging? Everything provides material for interstate conflicts. And each of these conflicts is given the weight of the power which stands behind it. Everybody says: as the power which I am, you cannot refuse me! The states bring themselves into play as the power which they are all in all.
And if the other side agrees or not, then a balance is drawn and the test of the willingness of the other side is made of the terms on which I want the relations. Then there are also state visits and the statesmen embrace. With Switzerland we have "amicable" relations. We have good relations with them, they with us. With other states we have "strained relations" or even "dysfunctional relations." These are the forms of the balance sheet.
What is actually expressed by the phrase "the relations are dysfunctional"? I am thoroughly dissatisfied with the other state because the other state does not agree to the claims that I can require from it. It's always a balance between what I can require and what I get. It comes to the accusation: you think you can afford not to have to agree to my claims.
These judgments also apply to smaller states. Smaller states also have good, bad, and broken relationships to larger states. What can be demanded of the other is always evaluated, and whether the others agree to it or not is always checked. Then sometimes tiny Ecuador signals its dissatisfaction with great America when it says: what we ask of you is not met; we think this is bad faith. Vice versa, vice versa. The big states say: the conduct of the other state towards me is not fair. This is the first transition to enmity.
Relations take place between states and dissatisfactions arise which are initially reacted to with negotiations in order to lead the other side to see to the advantages of the intended regulations. If, after the test, the other state is intransigent, this isn't temporary stubbornness, but ill will. Then the state is a subversive element in its own vicinity. The test for the other state's willingness to respond to my claims, to subordinate itself, has its own narrow material in the field where the other state resists and opposes subordination. So that it then looks as if the war arose out of defense, as the political scientists say. That is nonsense, but one thing is true. Another state proves its ill will most clearly by obtaining the means to arm itself; this reveals that it wants to put itself in a position to oppose their claims. That arms enable states to avoid the pressure of other states is then the crucial discovery that this state intends to do evil, is a problem, an obstacle to the validity of my rights.
What are then the current reasons for war? It's not a question of whether the state allows the export of wheat. This is also disputed between states, but what is really decisive is when one state looks at the arms of other states. For example, Iran. This state has been treated as an enemy forever; it is Israel's enemy in a region where Israel has nuclear bombs and America is present with nuclear bombs. If such a state seeks nuclear bombs, America says: its wrong to wait. This is an injustice that we must eliminate. If other states get weapons which allow them to escape deterrence and blackmail through their own power, then they are destroying the world order. For example, Iraq: it has now indeed been found that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction. The biggest injustice was that he get weapons of mass destruction too. Whether he had done that or not doesn't matter. They arm themselves and that's why they are the enemy.
Of course, there is always more to it than just weapons. If France arms itself, it is not an enemy. The starting point is: there's a state which we require to submit and this state refuses to. And in this light, the arms buildup is the ultimate proof that this state intends subversion. It deserves the enmity that is attributed to it.
The continuous assessment of whether other states submit to one's own claims or not leads to a conclusion. Their own rights are not respected enough. No matter where one looks, all states share the opinion that their rights are constantly violated by the others. Therefore, in the middle of peace they never abandon the theoretical test of whether the other is ready to fulfill their own claims or whether it resists. It is not seen in the balance whether relations are good or bad. Correcting power relations is a continual task. This is the arms race itself.
Subordination of trade under security policy
We saw that states build up arms in general and in accordance with what their economy yields. Now the next step includes building up arms in view of those states that do not bow down. So building up arms then has the measure that a deterrent must be brought together which teaches that state that it has to subordinate itself. Then the question is long forgotten as to how much can my economy tolerate this. Often states overdo it in arming. They equip themselves in a way that their economy can't maintain in the long run.
But not only in the area of armaments does the subordination of other states to the purpose of interstate relations becomes the means, but in all fields. Previously, we saw that states use other states to increase their own wealth, and the result was that, in order to ensure this, it needs to be able to extort other states so that they grant more favorable terms of trade. Now, from the standpoint of other states not being obedient enough, of having to get these states to submit better, all economic relations become subordinated to this standpoint. Then trading with the other country becomes a favor that the other state has to honor. What is sold to it has to be paid not only with money, but also with political loyalty. One patronizes other states and also calls at the same time on other states to function as an extension of their own power base. Vice versa, vice versa. States that do not yield are denied free trade. At first, not in all fields, but an arms embargo. Then one also does not provide dual-use goods, computers that can be programmed for missile guidance. And then it soon turns out that all industrial goods are dual use goods. Any ball bearing can be used for centrifuges. And so on.
If the hostility continues, there is a general trade embargo, and one precludes states from using the world market. It is clear that the world is regarded by the great powers as their property; they permit or refuse other countries. America does not admit Cuba into world trade. Cuba is forbidden to enrich other states through exports and imports, as all other states do with one another. The whole thing, being involved in the international trade system without discrimination, is staged as different degrees of exclusion; one first must be admitted, and indeed by those who make up the WTO.
Trade becomes subordinated to the violent self-assertion of one power over other powers. That includes harming trade. Every embargo is a ban on doing business. That's why in any embargo there are private individuals who continue business in secret. And there are other states that try to avoid the damage of the embargo by continuing their shady, unofficial pursuit of the market. The subordination of trade under the state's self-assertion also means damaging the business system, to secure and to develop a strong assertive force, the foundation on which all business revolves.
In the middle of peace, a development aid in terms of bringing the means of violence to other states takes place. They make weapons available to other states. It would be incorrect to portray business as the central issue. Business is the side effect. It promotes the power capability of other states because it comes to the conclusion that their interests in violence fit to some degree in concept. Example: the United States and India. India developed the atomic bomb against the will of the world powers, against the spirit of the Non-Proliferation Treaty which India hasn't signed. India was subjected to U.S. sanctions for developing the atomic bomb. Now they say India's upgrade would be just right as a counterweight to China. This state becoming more powerful as a deterrent, and India becoming a subcontractor of the U.S., suits the Americans in concept. Whether that happens is very much in question.
Germany also has this standpoint in training Afghan police officers, or equipping Israel, or delivering tanks to the Saudis. It is always the same standpoint of power politics. One promotes the violence of other places, tinkering with the threat potential other states can use because one intends the threat to be just right. It is also clear that this doesn't always work out because the other sovereign has its own calculations. Saddam Hussein's Iraq was also upgraded by the Americans when it came to Iran. Afterwards, he abused the weapons, so an eye had to be kept on him all the more. But this changes nothing, because it pursues power politics and arms other countries.
What is the achievement of a military alliance? It has a twofold character. On the one hand, the greater power makes itself the servant of the security of the smaller state. You can act against another's insolence. You are also a power that must be respected, because you are my ally. On the other hand, your security interests are subordinate to my security interests. The security interests of the great power are part of the reason of state of the smaller power in the coalition. The third consequence is that the deterrent power is greater against a third party.
In the middle of peace, all states are engaged in developing their deterrence potential and striving to enlarge. Trade and commerce are introduced as its means, military equipment is exported, military alliances are developed, in order to provide an effective deterrence against the others.
In every peace, the world is strategically sorted. One knows who is a friend and who isn't. It comes to war when states conclude that the other state is denying my rank with the power that it represents. If I can't deal with the other state, it denies what I am as a power in the world. Each state endeavors to increase its deterrence power. And because they are all busy doing this, they encounter other powers that want the same and do the same. That's the recognition of hostility, of the irreconcilability of states. And it comes to war when the state also calculates that I also do this.
War is the tearing up of all illusions. It is the subordination of all domestic life to one purpose: the self-assertion of the power that the state is to the outside world. Subordination means to take it into service. A war economy then takes place. The front must be supplied, the country must withstand the blows of the enemy. Also the whole of the accumulated wealth is risked. In war, anything can go wrong, depending on which war one plans. If America goes to war against Iraq, America doesn't break down, even if the war also destroys American wealth. But in a war with an equal opponent, the entire life of the nation, the entire wealth of decades, is risked and sacrificed, if need be, for the external self-assertion of state power.
This relationship clears things up. In a society in which state force creates and protects property domestically, in which property is produced by force, force is primary. This is also true for relations to the outside world. Violence is the lifeblood of this community. If its ability to enforce with violence is called into question, anything and everything is sacrificed.
The production of world domination
The objection exists that today is not like when old Wilhelm sent in gunboats after a contract was refused. Of course, there are negotiations, such as the Kyoto Protocol, that are not always done by saber rattling. That's true. The recourse to violence according the slogan "you know what I could do to you!" is a later point, one which is reached in relations with Iran, Iraq, North Korea.
However, this does not happen constantly, because there is a world order which -- this must be said -- is never as busy as now. Still, it is correct that war does not take place at any time over every possible small issue because the world is organized into big systems of alliances. So we have the condition of a collective world rule and world order. This world rule is not a sudden outbreak of sanity by the modern state according to the slogan: we will give up fighting against each other and make common cause: a world market that anyone can use and a UN which avoids war by settling the disputes between states. This great economic growth potential of the whole world being opened up to capital is not the product of economic sanity, but a product of military alliances and circumstances of force. It is a product of the fact that the Americans have won two or three wars.
How did it happen that the whole world has become an open capital market? The first step was the second world war. The Americans won the competition and thereby eliminated all the imperialist competing nations. Both the British and French colonial empires and the empires of the competitors who were trying to create empires by conquest had been shattered. Then America made the world an offer: we prescribe that you can participate in the world market, depending on your ability to compete, with your local capital that you get together. The Americans offered it not because they said fair play is better, but the point was that if all states seek capitalist growth, then for the nation with the largest capital, the superior productivity, this is the best growth condition of all.
The Cold War
On the one hand, this order offered to the world was not achieved because the other big winner of the war had its own ideas about the development of its country and was not willing to open itself to foreign capital or to make its development dependent on whether it is worthwhile according to capitalist profitability. The Soviet Union excluded its sphere of influence, thus earning it the enmity of the United States. America had the standpoint: this splits the One World. That is the standpoint that I have a right to a world under my control.
The rejection of open capitalist world trade was the substance of the declaration of war against the Soviet Union and was followed by a forty-year cold war. This cold war had a peculiarity. Within the Western alliance, this was the only lasting attainment of collective rule. Because of the cold war, America made the offer to the other capitalist countries: you take our side on the front, fight the Russians, contribute to this power's containment, rollback, and deterrence, then you firstly can and may share in the deterrence power of the Americans and you will therefore also be major powers in relation to third parties, and secondly you may also economically use the American-dominated rest of the world, even if you do not control it militarily.
This offer was agreed to by the old colonial powers as well as the old enemies Germany and Japan; and in their own interest, because as capitalist states they had also taken the existence of a Soviet block as a deprivation. For example, a quarter of the land was taken away from Germany. Germany felt immediately damaged by the existence of this non-capitalistic power. They voluntarily went under the American nuclear umbrella because it was in their own interest to fight the other power.
In their hostility to the Soviet Union, they had a positive community, which then also had the content that each contributes to the common deterrent. This also included that each nation had an interest in the other nations functioning economically so that they could be powerful military partners. This subordination under the Americans, on the other hand, included the Americans' consideration for the national interests of the partners, because they should be able to prosper. Even that was always disputed: either I get more out of the alliance or I'll pay less. It was not harmonious, but there was a common basis between the western states.
In their world, they then established the world market with the dollar as the world currency and the institutions of the world economy such as the IMF and the World Bank, the caretakers for the states that go broke in world trade.
The alliance was successful in lambasting the enemy. Recall the violent character of this order: a world order whose stability was based on a war capability and the question constantly emerging whether the state of affairs now leads to war. That was one half of the peace. No shooting takes place, but both sides are ready for it and suspect that the other side will. That's why the red phone was invented. If one fires a wrong shot and it is misunderstood, one should be able to stop it. The other half of this peace was that the whole world was subordinated to this peace. There was no state in the world that could exclude itself and say: its not my concern. The West claimed the world and made sure that the Soviet Union wouldn't find allies anywhere on the globe. States that are ruined by their integration into the world market should not have the chance to turn to the Soviet Union. And this subsumption led to the cold war front not only being in Europe, but superimposed on the whole globe. Every African country was either part of the West or the East or suspected of being sympathizers and then overrun with civil war. So the alternative was made rotten, weakened. Even where a war was not won, as in Vietnam, the message to the rest of the world was: whoever opposes the West will be bombed back to the stone age. This is how peace and the peaceful world economy functioned in that period.
It succeeded in finishing off the Soviet Union by an arms race to the death. It forced an arms buildup on them that they couldn't afford in the final analysis. That meant, on the other hand, it always improved its military power in order to eliminate the military power of the other side. The other side responded accordingly and put tons of resources into doing the same to the West. This led to Gorbachev saying: we can't afford enmity against the West. And that being the case, he said that socialism was a stupidity from the standpoint of a world power's capacity for world war anyway. Ultimately, Gorbachev said that capitalism is a better system of exploitation because it gets more out of people and the state power gets more. Then they threw socialism away and decided to be capitalistic. They wanted to compete according to the general rules of the world market.
America's victory in the Cold War
That was the great turning point that completed the standpoint of world rule by one side. Now there's really no longer any opposing major power. Now there is the capitalistic economic order and its guarantee by violence. All states submit to and under this system. Now what was always wanted has been achieved: no opposition against the dictates of the Americans and NATO. On the other hand, it is now evident that collective world rule was a huge contradiction and could only have appeared as a community while there was a common enemy. The end of the Cold War and the defeat of the Soviet Union has the same and opposite meanings for both sides. For the Americans, it has the meaning: now the enemy is gone and my global leadership, my command, is undisputed. We are no longer as dependent on the allies as we were against the great Soviet enemy, so we no longer need to show their interests as much consideration. The Europeans interpret it the same way, but from their point of view: now the great enemy against whom we stood no chance on our own is gone, now we are free to improve our rank and weight in world politics and we can demand and manage more as a state. For example, Kohl's speech that, after reunification, Germany's responsibility for the world has grown: the Russians are gone, now we also have won the GDR, now we are a very different power than before, and now the world must listen to us.
Now there is the conflict that America demands that its partners continue the tried and tested alliance, but really with a different content. The content of the alliance no longer has the meaning that we have a common interest and subordinate ourselves under this common interest. Now the same coalition, NATO, has the meaning that America is the superpower and the others should submit to it, even though these states don't stand for a common interest, but only their own interest. America demands: we are the leader of the world and demand allegiance from all our partners while finishing off the trouble makers we detect. This is different than before.
The partners did not think of Iraq as a big troublemaker at all. The Europeans could do great trade with Iraq. The Europeans also had an interest in Iraq in attaining a foothold in the Middle East. In attacking Iraq, the Americans attacked a country which its own allies did not think of as an enemy. However, America demanded: you must help us finish off an enemy we declare to be an enemy of the world. If you participate, if you help, the priority, the uniqueness, the inviolability of America also increases towards you. This is the reason why the Europeans took exactly the opposite position. Schroeder and Chirac decided not to participate in this war. They denied service to the common cause because it no longer is the common cause. And remember, on the other side, what kind of an incredible power they confronted.
One must make clear the violent character of peace in all this. America led a second war against Iraq ten years later because Iraq with its own ambitions is in the way. The Americans want to commit the local states to themselves in a new way. The war has the meaning that the U.S. wants to assert itself there. At the same time, it has to underline the message to all countries of the world: whoever we declare to be an enemy has no chance of survival. You can't oppose the deterrence that we represent. Peace is based on the fact that the deterrence is now complete. And exactly this order is no longer simply at the disposal of the other partners. If Germany decides not to participate in the war against Iraq, they detract from the unopposability of the deterrence regime. Then it is no longer so clear whether one cannot oppose America. That is the situation in Afghanistan and in the Iran issue. The fight is in the next round. Now the Europeans no longer have the point of view that they won't participate.In regards to North Korea, the Americans decided to defuse the conflict. They did not take away their nuclear weapons, but responded to demands by the North Koreans that they could have accepted ten years ago. As far as anyone knows, they wanted to defuse one front because they have to act on another.
How does the alliance currently function? The Europeans are determined not to let themselves be used as auxiliary troops and vassals of the Americans. On the other hand, they have an interest in the deterrence ability of the West towards the world. The fight for rank takes place in the form of cooperation. The Europeans are looking as to where they should make themselves available to American demands and where not. Schroeder says: we practice one hundred percent solidarity in the fight against terror, but Iraq is not a case of this. Afghanistan, ok. So the Germans help with the war in Afghanistan; a war for which there is not a shred of national interest. No one in Germany can say what interest is met in the Hindu Kush. Germany is there for methodological-imperialistic reasons and not because Germany says: I want a piece of Afghanistan and then I'll have something. The sequence is reversed. Because the Americans have declared it to be a case, they help out. And with a double calculation. Half of the calculation intends to help the Americans in order to make the Americans see that the Germans are an indispensable and useful ally, that they need the Germans and therefore should give the Germans more rights in determining important issues of world order. They help the Americans in order to win greater weight against them in the alliance. They also help them because Afghanistan is where the question is co-decided whether America can assert itself there and can anyone successfully oppose it. It suddenly becomes important for the Europeans to be involved so that the Americans do not determine it alone.
The combination of cooperation and putting up resistance is so intertwined in the case of Afghanistan -- assisting and seeing that the Americans do not simply assert themselves -- that we do not have to wonder about the Tornadoes being sent in. If it were simply one's own war and one's own assertion, it would be clear that Tornadoes are sent in to finish off the enemy. Now Germany says, on the other hand: why should we help the British and Americans pull chestnuts from the fire? Both by contributing and not contributing, a competition is pursued over weight in the alliance.
Because the show of assertion goes so exceptionally awry at the moment, this works as a catalyst in the direction of the demolition of this west alliance. In Afghanistan, it is about the future of NATO, so they say. The war itself is the touchstone for whether the alliance continues. It is decided in this war what the West is. If the Taliban then launches an offensive, the price of cooperation increases, while the benefits decrease. Iraq is a different case. The American President said Iraq was a case where those criminals need to be punished, but a deterrence also takes place against the rest of the world. Now this war doesn't work out. It becomes increasingly difficult for the Americans to maintain the semblance of a state power. What is the effect? The talk of a thriving democratic Iraq is over. The Americans have now arrived at a second meaning of the war. The proven ability of America to assert itself against any other state is the basis for discipline in the world, for the subordination of other powers. And now the Americans say: one thing that must not happen is that we lose there, because that would undermine the American deterrence and enforcement capability. America becomes, in so far as the war goes badly, ever more radical. The slogan is to send in ever more troops.
The Democrats raise the reproach that this ideologically pigheaded Bush is weakening the power of America; a very patriotic charge. This is partly: who was so stupid as to want to prove the meaning of America in this dump? The other variant is: if one does this, one has to send in enough soldiers. Rumsfeld gets to hear the accusation: you won easily against Saddam, but had you sent in 100,000 more, then the terror would not have happened. The Democrats take the same standpoint as Bush. These are not peace lovers who say that they will stop the war. These are politicians who hold America's power to be the lifeblood of the U.S. The Americans are now at the point where they really want to prevent a loss. This has several variants. One says its unacceptable to wage small skirmishes somewhere. The Democrats argue from the success point of view as their criticism of the war.
This is a screwy relation which tears between the partners; on the one hand, they are beneficiaries of the circumstance that all states are to be subjected to capitalistic exploitation, which they also want; on the other hand, everybody wants to be the sole one of these nations who defines how the order is set up, so that it benefits from it. This can and cannot go together. The result is neither that they unite on something positive, nor that they diverge according to the motto: you have your sphere of influence, we ours. It's all about the world and its control. The Europeans do not say: Europe is enough for us. They also see themselves in charge of everything and everywhere. On America's side, but not as their vassals; helped by the American deterrence ability, but not simply to serve them. This contradiction explains why the Europeans took a tricky position in the Iraq war. On the one hand, it seems quite right to them that America is caught in this quagmire. It's proof that even a superpower can't do everything alone. And the same European powers say exactly the opposite. Nothing would be worse than if America withdrew from Iraq without accomplishing anything. Then the world order would be in danger. The collaboration is in shambles over this.
All this is how the order in the world is ensured on which the economic utilization of other states then takes place. And this constant contestation of violence is the foundation of peace. Nowadays, a state of war and peace are easily blurred. Previously, we had the idea that war is a total disaster and it is thought of in opposition to an idea of peace. Peace is the circumstance that shots are not fired. Today one has to say: the world peace, the stable relationship between countries, is the basis of economic utilization, and it functions with lots of wars brought about by the great powers. War is part of everyday life, normality; military expeditions continually take place somewhere. This is the basis of peaceful relations. This is the other side of imperialism today.
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