Friday, March 01, 2024

Hobson’s Choice

The American presidential election is being viewed with increasing trepidation in Westminster and the other chancelleries of Europe. Not surprisingly considering the choice facing the electorate – a senile old man in thrall to the most aggressive and venal sections of the American ruling class or Donald Trump, whose calls for trade wars and tariffs could easily trigger a global slump not seen since the Wall Street Crash of 1929.
Though Trump is ahead in the opinion polls at the moment that could easily change if the movers and shakers in the Democratic Party dump Joe Biden in favour of a new leader to face the challenge in November. Many favour Michelle Obama, a lawyer and author, whose only claim to high office is that she is the wife of President Barack Obama and served as the First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017. Needless to say the views of bourgeois politicians this side of the Atlantic will count for nothing in their calculations.
Gone are the days when British politicians on both sides of the House could pose as equals to their American counter-parts and talk about a “special relationship” with US imperialism. Gone – like the dream of the Franco-German bourgeoisie of an independent European Union that could play off East against West or the nonsensical “Third Way” of the Blairites which, in itself, was just another version of the Keynesian economic model pioneered by Fascist Italy and the Third Reich in the 1930s. 
In the old days British imperialism bragged about the Empire on which "the sun never set" while the German imperialists talked of "world domination". United States imperialism has always been more subtle. After the Second World War it made a bid to control the economic development of the world through the Marshall Plan and its dominance of the fledgling United Nations. This was thwarted by the opposition of the Soviet Union and the new people's democracies. During the Cold War much of the world was divided between the rival spheres of influence of the United States and the USSR. However the end of the Soviet Union enabled the United States to reinforce its grip on Western Europe.
Western European leaders still pose as equals of the Americans in the NATO alliance but in reality they’ve been forced to accept the model of subservience imposed on Japan by US imperialism after its defeat in 1945.
Dependent on American protection to defend their own global interests they destroyed the Yugoslav federation and the Libyan Jamahuriya at Washington’s behest. They fan the flames of war in Ukraine and the Middle East and prolong the unhappy partition of many countries including Cyprus, Ireland, Kashmir and Korea.
Now all they can do is watch as the drama of the race to the White House plays out. Whether Michelle Obama can mobilise the same rainbow coalition that swept her husband into the White House in 2008 is another matter. Biden’s blanket support for Israeli aggression has alienated Arab-Americans as well as large sections of the Black and Muslim community that has traditionally supported the Democrats in the past. Whether they will return to the fold will ultimately depend on Biden’s departure and a more even-handed approach to the Palestinians in the run-up to the election.

No comments: