MARCH 23RD, 2017
Fissures within the bourgeoisie caused by Trump with his policy reflect on the international arena as well, by attacking two of the central policies driven by imperialist powers over the past decades. The first one is what we have called the democratic reaction – which means to confront tough situations regarding the relationship of forces with the masses through pacts, negotiations and elections (because of impossibility or limits to use military action). And the second, as we have said in previous articles, is the policy of international Free Trade agreements.
Third article of the series “Trump’s First Steps”. By Alejandro Iturbe.
On both matters, Trump has broken or deteriorated the ties with governments that are natural allies of the U.S. imperialism (or important for policies encouraged by imperialism). We could say that, until now, Trump has done nothing but “make enemies”.
The most notorious case is that of Mexican president Peña Nieto, one of the most servile semi-colonial agents of the U.S. imperialism, who rules one of the most important commercial partners of the United States. With the wall proposal and the demand for Mexico to pay for it, Trump has forced Peña Nieto to face him opposing its construction and financing. It is certain that Peña Nieto has been deeply weakened. First, because Trump threatened to close or debilitate the main subordinated-development path to which important sectors of the Mexican bourgeoisie were integrated: the industry of maquilas in the north of the country and its semi-slave workforce. Second, because Trump wants to close the escape vault that it represents for many Mexicans who emigrate to the U.S. fleeing from poverty and misery in their country. And, essentially, it debilitates Peña Nieto in front of the current process of mobilization that Peña Nieto i facing in his country.
In a lesser way, he has also weakened his ties with pro-imperialist agents, like Temer in Brazil and Macri in Argentina, by restricting the visa entrances for citizens of these countries. In the case of Argentina, he also suspended the import of Argentinian lemons that was authorized by Obama. Despite the income of such exportation being rather small (twenty million dollars), it was a symbolic fact that in the middle of a crisis of Argentine economy, Trump weakened Macri and caused him strong internal criticism.
As important as (or even more than) the Mexican case is the deterioration in the relationship with the Chinese regime. This country, as an economy subordinated to imperialism, is one of the main providers and trade partners of the U.S.. On the one hand, he left the TPP project and threatened to add taxes to industrial importations from that country. Through this, Trump not only confronted multinational companies that own factories, in a direct or associated way, in China. He also threatened the dynamic of the whole “Chinese model” as well, in a moment when the model is showing signs of a serious crisis. It is also worth to mention that leaving the TPP project caused fissured with Japan, which also had economic expectations on the agreement.
On the other hand, for no specific reason, Trump began to flirt with Taiwan’s regime; the island where the Chinese bourgeoisie sheltered itself when it was expelled from the continent, and whose territory is currently being claimed by the Chinese central government. With these policies he is becoming an enemy of the Chinese regime, which is objectively a natural ally of the U.S. Imperialism (dependent of it but of certain importance on its own).
Another meaningful case is Iran and the Ayatollahs regime. When the defeat of Iraq’s military occupation was evident, Bush –at first, and then Obama– looked to integrate the Iranian regime (an “enemy” since the 1979 revolution) to the imperialist policy to stabilize the troubled Middle East region. The Iranian regime plays a key role in Iraq (it is the main support of the central government of Baghdad, backed by the U.S.) and in Syria, where it supports the bloodthirsty regime of Bashar Al Assad. With his “Muslim ban” and his veto to Iranian citizens, Trump began to wreck a relationship that was arduously constructed over the years. The Iranian government already announced it will block the entrance of U.S. citizens to Iran and rushed the test of new missiles.
Finally, Trump has opened breaches with imperialist European powers and other countries in the world. The recent summit of the E.U. heads of state criticized U.S. president’s policies on immigration and refugees, as well as on international trade agreements. Even Angela Merkel (which can hardly be considered as “progressive”) stated Trump’s policies were leaving Europe in an “uncomfortable position”. Trump even hanged up the phone on the Australian prime minister because he criticized his stance on immigration and refugees.
Another bizarre fact, in Great Britain, after a request with 1 million signatures for Trump not to travel to England to meet with Queen Elizabeth, even Prince Charles stated it was better not to make such visit because “it would affect the Queen’s image”.
To understand the context more, it is important to point out that, despite some aspects that seem similar, Trump’s policy is very different to the one driven by George Bush’s son since 2001. Bush came from the heart of the Republican Party and represented a sector of the leadership gathered around the so called “New American Century” project. This sector considered that the beginning of the 21st century was defined by the dispute on the control over natural resources around the world (essentially, oil) and if the United States did not guarantee its hegemony, they would step back as a world power.
For that, it was valid and necessary to use aggressive and warlike methods against other countries. The foreign policy implemented by Clinton and the democrats was characterized as “insufficient” and “tender” because it led to the weakening of the U.S., and it was necessary to change it. This meant Bush and his team were proposing to turn the wheel: end the “Vietnam syndrome” and the defensive policy of the “Democratic reaction” in order to pass on to the offensive, going back to “the stick” as the central element to confront and defeat the mass movement around the world.
For the first moments (invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq), he counted with the support of several European imperialist powers (Great Britain, Italy, Spain), which later backed down after seeing the unfavorable result on both wars.
Trump also wants to change the “Democratic reaction” policy but not for a general offensive around the world, like Bush, but rather through an aggressive isolationist policy. This includes to re-debate international free-trade agreements. He comes from the view that “the world has been taking advantage of the United States” and now it is time to give priority to the defense of the United States (“America First”), and “the rest should take care of themselves”.
For all other rising imperialist powers, this policy has all the disadvantages of the Bush era (the risk of worsening the situations he wants to solve) and none of the possible advantages for success. This is why, unlike it happened with Bush, those powers criticized Trump since the beginning of his government.
Translation: Guillermo Zuñiga.
Read the first 2 articles of the Series Trump’s First Steps:
Trump’s First Weeks: http://litci.org/en/trumps-first-weeks/
Trump and the U.S. Bourgeoisie: http://litci.org/en/trump-and-the-u-s-bourgeoisie/