Is US Imperialism Invincible?

Garbis Altınoğlu 
(Partially abridged translation of the original Turkish document “ABD Emperyalizmi Yenilmez midir?”)

                               26-28 March 2003   

US imperialists and their British stooges began their war against Iraq after a long period of preparation. The balance of the first few days of fighting demonstrated the fact that aggressors have sustained significant losses and have been disappointed, despite the tremendous amount of disparity between opposing forces, reactionary nature of the Baath regime and consequential weakness of its mass base. Here I have to underline the fact that, notwithstanding the reactionary nature of the Baath regime, its war against the US and its stooges is a just one. In 1915 Lenin said:
“For example, if tomorrow Morocco were to declare war on France, or India on Britain, or Persia or China on Russia, and so on, these would be ‘just’, and to ‘defensive’ wars, irrespective of who would be the first to attack; any socialist would wish the oppressed, dependent and unequal states victory over the oppressor, slave-holding, predatory ‘Great’ Powers.” (“Socialism and War”, Collected Works, Vol. 21, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1974, pp. 300-01) Under the present circumstances, where US imperialists, present-day Nazis, have unleashed a total war on the peoples of the world and proclaimed themselves as the sole and unrivalled master of the world, these words of Lenin are valid more than ever. Notwithstanding the class nature of the Baath regime, the struggle of the Iraqi army and the people, have become an extremely important component of anti-imperialist and democratic struggle of the proletariat and peoples of the world. 

However, contrary to the wishes of the great majority of the peoples of the world, by using its weapons of mass destruction on a great scale, US and its stooges can win this war, topple the Saddam Hussein regime and install a puppet regime in Baghdad.

But, this will prove to be a Pyrrhic victory. In such a case, the ugly face of the US shall be perceived by the entire people of Iraq, the Middle East shall be provided with a second Palestine and backed by the moral and material support of proletariat and peoples of the world in general and that of the proletariat and peoples of Arabic and Islamic world in particular, the resistance of Iraqi people against imperialist occupation and colonization shall continue and contribute significantly to the modification of the political map of the region in favor of workers and peoples. (1) Moreover, in view of the plans of the US to extend its aggression on other Middle Eastern countries, such a “victory” won at the cost of the lives of tens of thousands of Iraqi workers and toilers, shall assist the advance of the global struggle against American neo-fascism.

Already, in several Middle Eastern countries, the burgeoning anti-imperialist and democratic peace movement is slowly turning against native ruling classes and cliques, exposing the servants of the US, shaking the reactionary status quo and drawing broad masses to the streets. This movement has begun to erode the mass base and to shake the thrones of reactionary ruling classes, not only those of Kuwait and Qatar, but also those of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt etc.

Utilizing the climate of 11 September action, American monopoly capital started its preparation to attack Iraq right after its aggression against Afghanistan. In the meantime it has extended its claws to a wide region ranging from Colombia to Kyrgyzstan, from Pakistan to the Philippines, from Djibouti to Georgia, from Mali to Qatar, established new bases and stationed additional US military personnel in several countries and further increased its already gigantic war budget. In parallel with these developments, under the pretext of “war on terrorism” and “strengthening of internal security”, American neo-fascists have enacted several laws further restricting the liberties of US citizens, aggravating the already existing censorship, militarizing various aspects of social life and bolstering the state apparatus. Aggression against the peoples of other countries inevitably goes hand in hand with increasing aggression against American people. As Marx said: “No nation can be free if it oppresses other nations.”

However, the attempt of the US to improve its position vis-a-vis Chinese, European and Russian imperialists by monopolizing energy resources and its attempts to intimidate the workers and peoples of the world and and to crush their vanguard organizations, has backfired and shall continue to backfire. Already facing the growing resistance of its “own” working class and youth, neither the failing economy, nor the overstreched gigantic military machine of US monopoly capital can endure such an adventure. These “difficulties” are further exacerbated by the global resistance of very broad strata of workers, toilers and youth to the growing imperialist terrorism of the US and its disregard for international bourgeois law and by the opposition of rival imperialist powers. The atmosphere of discussion and questioning brought about as a result of the aforementioned frictions and contradictions, has forced Washington brigands into a corner notwithstanding the campaign of lies they have been conducting. In the meantime, their refusal to recognize the right of nations to self-determination, their colonialist moral arguments with regard to their “prerogative” as to changing the regimes in other countries allegedly for the purpose of introduction of democracy etc., have been nullified; their aggressive features have been entirely exposed and led to their isolation to an unprecedented degree in the history of modern imperialism.

One of the most important elements of the systematic psychological warfare conducted by the US during the post-11 September period has been the myth of its so-called overwhelming strength and invincibility. At present, from a military viewpoint, US imperialism has an undisputed superiority vis-a-vis other imperialist powers and possesses extremely effective weapons of mass destruction. Not content with its relative superiority and intent on becoming almost a military-imperialist power and maintaining its present position by almost purely military means, the US is working systematically to develop newer and still more effective means of war. Moreover, in line with its Hitlerite theory of “preventive strike”, the neo-fascist wing of American monopoly capital led by the Bush clique states that it reserves the “right” to attack on countries which it considers to pose a potential threat. Though they contain a significant element of psyhological warfare, such threats should be taken seriously. After all, the US has used nuclear bombs against an already defeated Japan in 1945, has exhorted the French imperialists to use nuclear bombs against Vietnamese people in 1954, has come to the brink of using nuclear weapons against Cuba in 1962 and has considered using nuclear weapons in Vietnam at the end of the 1960s, where it was facing imminent defeat. And as the historical experience of last 50 or so years (wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq etc.) has shown, US imperialists can venture on using their formidable weapons to crush the struggle of workers and peoples for democracy, independence and socialism or to check rival imperialist powers and destroy millions and tens of millions of people.

This, however, does not alter the fact that, imperialism in general and US imperialism in particular is weak, when looked at from a strategic angle. Notwithstanding the introduction of a series of important developments in the fields of military technology and tactics, which definitely deserve to be studied by all who fight for the cause of revolution, anti-imperialism and socialism, people continue to be the decisive factor in war. In the last analysis, it is the people who win wars, not the weapons. Encircled by the anger of the proletariat and peoples, American neo-fascists are condemned to be defeated and consigned to the dustbin of history, just as Hitlers, Mussolinis and Japanese militarists. Recent historical experience confirms the fact that US imperialists, who in the long run are doomed to be overthrown by the American working class, can be forced to retreat and at times defeated tactically in the face of workers and toilers, who dare to fight for their just causes. So let’s refresh our memories:

In the wake of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in June 1982 and massacre of the Palestinian refugees at the Sabra and Shatila camps by Lebanese Falangist militia under the supervision of the Israeli army on 24 August 1982, a 5,800 strong Multi-National force composed of American, British, French and Italian troops was sent to this country on the pretext of ensuring the security of Lebanese people. On 23 October 1983 two suicide drivers broke into the camps of US and French soldiers, their trucks laden with explosives and killed 241 American and 58 French soldiers. A couple of months later, US President Ronald Reagan was forced to withdraw American troops.

In November 1992, the US had sent a 30,000 strong force to Somalia, allegedly for humanitarian purposes. Not before long, Americans began to fight the forces of United Somali Congress led by General Mohammed Farrah Aideed. On 3 October 1993, a US helicopter was shot down and 19 US Marines and hundreds of Somalis were killed in the ensuing clashes. The US was once more forced to withdraw in March 1994.

The small size and weakness of countries, such as Lebanon and Somalia, which had been ravaged as a result of civil wars lasting years and decades, did not stop their peoples from daring to fight against and expelling US imperialists, a feat they accomplished in the absence of a revolutionary leadership. So, we are justified in assuming that the workers and toilers of Turkey, a middle sized and relatively developed country with a population of nearly 70 million, can do much more in this regard under the leadership of the Marxist-Leninist party of the working class.

In fact, several writers and analysts have conceded this weakness of US imperialism and are aware of the fact that, faced with resolute resistance, US troops lacking any real motivation to fight, shall begin to vacillate. A couple of days after the attack of US-British forces on Iraq, a Jordanian intelligence source described the situation of the aggressors quite aptly:
“They are going to encircle the big cities, Basra, Mosul and Baghdad. But the elite Republican Guard divisions are digging in. The Americans will be forced to attack the best Iraqi soldiers, and thousands, dozens of thousands are now inside Baghdad. The Americans can’t occupy Baghdad, they don’t have enough soldiers, the city has more people than the whole of Lebanon. They could stay outside and keep bombing. But for how long? They cannot afford a war lasting many months.” On March 27th, 2003, Scott Ritter, former United Nations chief weapons inspector spoke on the same theme. Among other things, he said:
“The Iraqi soldiers are not surrendering and are fighting back. Our supply lines have suddenly been cut off. And now, we’re not so invincible as we seemed before. The effects-based strategy no longer works, and now the war won’t be short and fast like it was promised to be when the President signed in approval of it.”

In fact, the course of the war on Iraq becomes progressively more similar to that of the glorious national liberation war of the Vietnamese people, in spite of important differences between the two. After they had defeated the French imperialists at Din Bien Phu in 1954, the Vietnamese people were forced to conduct a heroic war against US imperialists until 1973, who had replaced the former colonialists. However, they did not win this war solely or even mainly on the battlefield. Yankee brigands used almost all the weapons at their disposal, save for the nuclear ones (2), well-nigh on an unlimited scale; but the Vietnamese people led by a national revolutionary leadership won, mainly due to their determination, moral superiority and justice of their cause and secondly due to several other factors, including the passive and active resistance inside the US armed forces (3), peace movement in the US and throughout the world, which exposed the ugly and barbaric face of the enemy. The Vietnamese people won, because of several political, military and moral factors, which combined to break the enemy’s will to fight and not as a result of a decisive defeat of US imperialists on the actual battlefield.

Hence, if political developments are not analyzed in the light of Marxism-Leninism, majority of parties, circles and individuals taking part in the anti-imperialist and anti-war movement are bound to be influenced by the psychological warfare of American monopoly capital, overestimate the power of US imperialism rotten to the core and therefore adopt a pessimistic stand with respect to the future of toiling humanity. And this is true for the main body of the very extensive post-11 September literature exposing both the crimes and plans for world domination of the US led by the Bush clique. Of course, this literature is playing a positive role as well. It is reminding the peoples of the world the more than a century-long crimes of US bourgeoisie and imperialism, from the genocide of the Indians to the massacre of the Philippino people at the beginning of the 20th century, from dozens of military coups d’etat Washington has organized or incited to the war crimes it has committed; therefore it refreshes the collective memory of workers and peoples. This literature also exposes the ambitions of US imperialism with regard to its plans to redraw the map of the world, change the regimes of several states, especially of those who challenge its power; it exposes the ambitions of  the US to consolidate or extend its control over the energy resources of the world and to ensure the “security” of Zionist Israel etc.

HOWEVER, characterized by bourgeois humanist, pacifist or petty-bourgeois democratic viewpoints, in most cases this literature fails to see through the apparent strength of world imperialism led by the US. The apparently mighty outer shell of imperialism hides a parasitic and senile capitalism, which has led to a general decay and degeneration effecting all aspects of social life. We, definitely, should take seriously the views of American neo-fascists as to their intentions to occupy Iraq and further to redesign the entire map of the Middle East and their plans and initiatives to that effect. US imperialists and especially their neo-fascist section represented by the Bush clique, have come to the conclusion that, overall agression is the only way to protect the positions of the US in the inter-imperialist struggle for spheres of interest and have deployed their forces and troops according to these plans. But, until now they have not even succeeded in“pacifying” Afghanistan and have been receiving blows from the growing resistance of Afghan people. On the other hand, they have been stuck in the Iraqi quagmire, are face to face with popular resistance in Colombia and the Philippines, where they have troops on the ground and have been compelled to speak quietly when challenged by North Korea. Therefore, it should be obvious to all that, plans of the US for world domination are not of any consequence in the medium run. US imperialists have bitten off more than they can chew. To believe in their capacity to dominate and control the whole Middle East would border on the absurd, in view of the fact that their Zionist lackeys have not been able to break the resistance of the Palestinian people since 1948 and “solve” the Palestinian question.

In the coming months and years, we all shall see the plans of Yankee brigands, who aim to encircle and enslave the proletariat and peoples of the world, backfire. To the contrary, they themselves shall progressively become encircled by the proletariat and peoples of the world and be dealt heavier blows. Therefore, this overambitious policy of the neo-fascist fraction of US imperialists, which has also been paving the road for the growth of the resistance of the American working class and low-pitched opposition of another section of US monopoly capital, may go bust in the coming years and the US once more may return to a “liberal-imperialist” policy a la Clinton. (Obviously, such a change shall signify nothing but replacement of naked show of force by a more cautious and hypocritical imperialist policy of aggression.)

Those, who are unable to perceive all these basic realities and the main direction of developments, shall be led to believe in the “invincibility” of the military power of capitalist-imperialist system led by the US and be inclined to capitulate in the face of the so-called superior technology of the masters of the world. They will not be able to understand the hollowness and subjective nature of the overambitious plans of the US to dominate the world and become the victims and soft targets of disinformation activity and psychological warfare of imperialism.

I will end this article with a quotation from another article of mine:
“The US has been living through a relative regression in line with the law of uneven development of capitalism. This, however, does not prevent it from being the greatest economic and military power on earth, who enjoys and shall continue to enjoy considerable superiority over its imperialist rivals in the foreseeable future. Besides, US imperialism has consolidated its superiority through its near monopoly position in the fields of visual media, popular culture and entertainment industry. But, the tactical superiority of Yankee imperialists, who continue their militarization drive, including the arming of the space and development of new military technologies, such as pilotless planes, robots etc., does not make them invincible, nor can it conceal the extremely decadent nature of the contradiction-ridden American society. Terrorist monopoly capitalist class of the US has been encircled by the anger and hate of the workers and peoples of the world and will prove unable to ward off their onslaught in the medium-term. To bring this about, the workers and peoples of the world and especially their vanguards should reject to be intimidated of the psychological war imperialism has been conducting and should dare to fight against this imperialist octopus on several fronts and cut its bloody and abominable tentacles.” (“A Proposal For a Revolutionary Way Out of the Crisis”, 3-8 March 2002)

(1) The prolongation of the war may and shall lead to the broadening of the war due to the participation of volunteers from Arab and Islamic countries and even further beyond. So, US-British aggression may end up in a situation, similar to the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39 and the Afghan resistance of the 1980s, that is an internationalization of the resistance. This can be considered as a “worst case scenario” for US imperialists.

(2) Between 1969-71, during the presidency of Richard Nixon, the tonnage of bombs dropped on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia by the US Air Force had exceeded the tonnage of bombs dropped on Pacific and European theaters of war by American warplanes during the whole duration of Second World.

(3) In his article, “The Collapse of the Armed Forces”, published in the Armed Forces Journal in June 1971, Colonel Robert D. Heinl Jr. wrote:
“The morale, discipline and battleworthiness of the US Armed Forces are… lower and worse than at any time in this century and possibly in the history of the United States.”


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