LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE
The demise of the Soviet Union has not really ended the cold war. Roughly the same level of military spending, the same strong arm posture with respect to 'defiant' states, except there are more of them, no comprehensive test ban, same old NATO culture — in truth NATO is expanding eastward. The expanded NATO is now a threat to the very existence of capitalist Russia, albeit Warsaw Pact is a closed chapter. NATO cannot survive without war. In the absence of the old 'evil' empire NATO found an easy target in Yugoslavia. Destruction of Yugoslavia is actually a veiled message to the so-called 'rogue' states that refuse to obey the Uncle Sam. NATO halted its 78-day illegal bombing of Yogoslavia more than a year ago. But the agony of Yogoslavs continue unabated. Amnesty International in its June 7,2000 report stated that NATO violated international law in its bombing of Yugoslavia by deliberately targeting civilians. And yet no war tribunal for NATO's war crimes. NATO means war ideology. And so long as it remains there will be no justice. The policymakers in the White House utilised NATO to undermine the authority of the UN and they succeeded. In the future NATO’s fire power is to be used whenever strategically advantageous and whatever the human consequences. NATO symbolises the cold war legacy and it will remain so for years to come.
The anti-war cries have not had the impact they might have had. The peace movement — or for that matter anti-nuclear movement is yet to make irnoads into the heart and minds of India's rightist and leftist ruling elites. South Asian arms race is intricately linked to globalism. The world economy, more precisely the US economy, is basically driven by the production of military weapons and delivery systems. The American Congress is more interested in war, not peace. Peace cannot sustain the defence establishment. To fight two wars anywhere in the world at the same time continues to hold sway over the American Congressional psyche. No remotely interesting post-cold war vision of human development on this planet has surfaced. Cold war is now taking a new pattern with the rise of global corporate power which demands borderless international market. G-7 (or G-8) representing the top global players in global market is not a homogeneous club. Nor would they like to sharpen their inner contradictions any time soon. But trade war is hotting up thus brewing new conditions for the old scenario — cold war. European interests clash with those of America's while Japan looks reluctant not to easily give up its market share in the Asia-Pacific region. It's a
matter of time that non-antagonistic contradictions in the international corporate system turn into their opposites. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is still an American showpiece of globalism because Washington does not face any challenge from within. The real challenge it faces comes from the victims — the poor in the third world and the toilers of the West.
Labour organising is likely to take a new shape, particularly after the Seattle, in the coming days. The portest against the WTO in Seattle at the end of 1999 has created a unique space for development on the left. The way thousands of workers, students, feminists, environmentalists and third world activists came together to oppose globalisation has raised questions like : What is the alternative to WTO? Is it possible to confront global capital globally as also regionally? With the emergence of new pattern of exploitation of human and natural resources globally through the WB-IMF-WTO system anti-establishment movements in any part of the world cannot move forward if they fail to apply concrete strategy in concrete condition against the notorious trio. Incomplete democratic revolution in most third world countries is now part of anti-WTO struggle. Even dozens of self-determination movements now sweeping the third world, sometimes under the leadership of religious fundamentalists, cannot sustain themselves in isolation, they too are now part of anti-WTO struggle.
Any movement for self-determination will ultimately lead to confrontation with the powerful multinationals and the local elites as it is happening in the island of Mindanao in the Phillipines and elsewhere. Nearer home, the question of self-determination in Kashmir and in the north-east deserves special attention. Just to dismiss it as a Pakistani inspired proxy war cannot explain the bloody crisis. True, there are communal forces who are hell bent to communalise the Kashmiri politics while terrorising the minority people ie. the hindus and buddhists in this case but this is one aspect of the problem.
The Seattle episode has opened the premise of new internationalism in the changed context. The myth that in exchange for getting a bigger place of the pie, US and western workers would allow capital to do as it pleased overseas, was virtually shattered by the Seattle mobilisation. If anything a significant section of labour in the capitalist West, is breaking with the entire global strategy of capital despite disservice given to the worker’s cause by the so-called labour and social-democratic parties.