Biden's three watches
1. The European winter and the war in Ukraine
If the Ukraine war - or at least the Russian gas blockade - drags on until the winter of 2023-24, energy shortages would become catastrophic in Germany, although this winter is not going to be easy either even if they manage to reduce overall consumption by 10-20%. Especially if, as is already happening, there surges any kind of problem in the supply and disposal of LNG gas.
Not that the US is overly concerned about the health of German and European capital. In fact, the definitive reduction of German imperialist power on the continent is a secondary objective, not collateral damage for Washington. But, as we already see in Croatia, even the countries most aligned with the US may end up defecting from the anti-Russian front or rejecting new burdens if the economic situation continues to degrade for too long or too fast.
On the one hand, the example of Great Britain - where inflation is rampant and hunger is already on the horizon for millions - is giving the European ruling classes food for thought. On the other, industrial prospects. The director of Stellantis predicts the closure of 11 factories and the industry around renewables - manufacturers of panels and batteries - sees a 25% reduction on the immediate future. These are conditions that do not exactly encourage adherence to the prolonged war planned by the USA.
As a result, internal tensions in the EU are again multiplying. The Commission, which had hoped to centralize practically all gas purchases, now aspires to manage a maximum of 15% because no one trusts that Brussels, in critical matters, will not systematically prioritize German capital. And rightly so.
Of course the clock is also ticking for the Russian regime. Analysts close to NATO expect "things to become really problematic for Putin" from March or April if the Ukrainian army's advance continues. So the Kremlin, which has already emptied the streets of young males and packed them en masse to an ignominious death, is widening the playing field: the Iranian drones that terrorized Kiev this week are just the first installment of what's to come.
2. The war of the chips
The US is stepping on the accelerator in the technology war against China and its current nucleus: the chip and semiconductor industry. Not a day goes by without new measures and boycotts.
China is rushing to catch up and develop an industry of its own, accepting as temporary costs disproportionate error rates and resorting to an increasingly scarce second-hand market.
The US is accelerating its technological war because it knows that time is running against it. Along the way it is destroying the market and production capacities of Europe, of the manufacturing countries themselves (Taiwan and South Korea) which it treats in an increasingly punitive manner... and of its own sectoral star, Intel. The Economist even talks of the "collapse of a $1.5 trillion industry." And the resulting shortage - there will not be enough supply of chips for the automotive industry for at least two years - will not fail to affect the industrial capacity of the US as a whole.
3. The return of a Republican party increasingly skeptical about the continuation of the war
Biden announces release of millions of barrels of oil
The inflation resulting from the war, aggravated in its consequences for workers and the petty bourgeoisie by the anti-inflationary response of the Fed, make the November elections increasingly difficult for the Democrats.
Hence, US diplomacy took a gamble by pressuring Saudi Arabia so that OPEC+ would increase production quotas. Which obviously did not work out well. Biden's subsequent gestures and threats to the Saudi ruler only highlight the failure of the US to forcefully build a bloc beyond Europe and the Anglo-Saxon countries. Worse, it infuriated the Saudi establishment and its regional allies, as demonstrated only yesterday in the sour Emirati response to Borrell's reference to "the jungle" in a minor speech.
More strikingly, it infuriated the US oil industry, which is now competing against its own national reserves after Biden ordered millions of barrels to be put on the market to force down prices to help him electorally.
Result: the oil lobbies, on the charge against the Democrats, broadcast anyone with a microphone and the Republican candidates in this election, many of them retired military and veteran NCOs, are openly opposed to continuing to sustain the Ukraine war. In fact, Trump is already talking about "setting up immediate negotiations".
4. Accelerating not as in plunging faster towards disaster, but as in plunging ever more rapidly
Russian nuclear bombers in Syria
Each step forward by the US multiplies the chances of an extension of the war to new states and regions.
For example, after Russia turned to Iran to reinforce its aviation with suicide drones in the Ukrainian war, Israel rushed to fight its main enemy on Ukrainian soil. Russian response: threaten the Tel Aviv government with giving Iran a free hand in Syria and Lebanon, reminding it that if the Syrian war did not spread to directly affect Israel it was because of its role in restraining it.
Workers: From cannon fodder to starving cattle
Food insecurity in Great Britain
Each acceleration entails further destruction of productive capacities and lives.
After the Kerch bridge attack, Russia has already destroyed 30% of Ukrainian power plants allegedly in retaliation. With the US encouraging Ukrainian army attacks on Russian cities and an offensive on Kherson underway, what's coming in Ukraine is clear: slaughter of soldiers and civilians on both sides, starvation of workers on both sides of the border and a sea of basic infrastructure razed to the ground.
In the happy European garden the rift is opening wider and wider and the class income structure points decisively, as seen this week in the data in Spain, to a horizon in which more than 1/3 of the population is outright poor.
In Great Britain, this past September, 18 million families had to, at the very least, skip meals because they could not afford food.
In the USA, 180 million people are trying to survive on incomes below the minimum necessary for a decent life. And obviously, they belong neither to the ruling classes nor to the well-to-do petty bourgeoisie, nor are they limited to a racial or sexual group; they are, in their vast majority, precarious workers. It is the working class as a whole that is being driven into poverty.
The economic policies with which the Fed and the central banks on the one hand and the governments, including those of the European left, try to rescue capital in the midst of the anxiety produced by the advance of imperialist conflicts, will only worsen the picture of misery, death and anguish that already affects millions of workers.
- The main victims of bombings and sanctions are the workers on both sides of the front lines.
- The war expresses the growing antagonism between capitalism and human life.
- In all countries the enemy is within the country itself, calling for sacrifices and subordinating universal human needs to the benefit of business and investment.
- In every strike, in every meeting, in every company and in every neighborhood, let us make visible militarism, war and its consequences, and let us organize as workers against them.