Monopoly and war

Image: Prakash Chavda


How was it possible for the world to reach the current stage of dialogical/political, even rational, distance between NATO and Russia?

“War is the continuation of politics by other means”
(Carl Von Clausewitz).

"It's the economy, stupid!"
(James Carville, advisor to Bill Clinton in the 1992 campaign)

“Under these conditions, there is certainly no longer any reason for bourgeois ideology to boast of its pacifism and its propensity to contain the costs of militarism. (…) We cannot leave the problem of the need for military force without inquiring into the causes of capitalist hostility to the existence of a rival world socialist system. If, as some think, this hostility is based (…) on irrational prejudices and fears, such as the laboriously cultivated belief in Soviet aggressiveness, then it would be considered that (…) over time, more rational opinions will come to predominate. In this case, peaceful coexistence and disarmament could be considered not as propaganda slogans (…) but as achievable goals. On the other hand, if prejudices and fears are, as is often the case, simple masks of deeply ingrained interests, then we would have to evaluate perspectives differently.”
(Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy, Monopolistic Capitalism).

Eric Hobsbawm, in his book Age of Extremes: the brief 1914th century 1991-XNUMX, argued that the alliance between the USA and England with the USSR against Nazi Germany in World War II was possible because both Anglo-American liberal capitalism and Soviet socialism were heir forces of the Enlightenment, while Nazism would be a historical reaction contrary to the entire Western Enlightenment heritage.[I] This was during the rise of Soviet socialism.

But today the USA and Russia find themselves back to back, more than 30 years after the end of the USSR, which has historically been seen as a milestone in military deterrence between the USA and Russia. How was it possible for the world to reach the current stage of dialogical/political, even rational, distance between NATO and Russia? This extremely dangerous geopolitical situation experienced in this third decade of the century. XXI, is an indication of an abandonment of the entire Enlightenment heritage. By what parts and in what form?

I have regularly followed Professor Jeffrey Sachs' real classes on YouTube about the extremely dangerous development of the war in Ukraine and the war in Gaza. This professor took a political-intellectual turn that clashes with the hegemonic metal environment in the USA that, literally, demonizes Russia in a general and complete way, and in particular its president Putin. Jeffrey Sachs has been emphatic and recurrent in his call to the negotiating table: like President Lula, and the other BRICS forces, Sachs has been peremptory in defending the call for diplomacy.

But this does not happen because of a unilateral US decision: because of the US's systematic refusal to open diplomatic negotiations with the Kremlin. It's because? At this point, this article aims to contribute to the debate. Well, in a live by Jeffrey Sachs he literally accused the behavior of the White House, of not establishing political dialogues with the Kremlin since 2021, as being the “behavior of a five-year-old child.”

A fair comparison in the criticism of what happens, but there is a profound paradigmatic flaw in Professor Jeffrey Sachs' speech. What is it? That there is a “flaw” in American diplomacy, an “error” in government behavior, a “mistaken” political direction from the White House.

This article argues that there is no error in the direction taken by the US government. There is only radicalization on a path since the Vietnam War. Which way? That war is an economic necessity of North American monopoly capitalism. This statement is made here based on the work of P. Baran and P. Sweezy, indicated here among the first citations.[ii] Therefore, there is no error, but just a radicalization of what has been done since the Korean War: military spending is the real lifeblood of the American economy, and it is no accident that they are always at war, it is not a “defense” of a country “always attacked” such a situation of immanent war in which the USA always finds itself, but rather an economic necessity for the profitability of its system centered on its “military industrial complex”. Already indicated as a threat to American democracy itself by Republican President Dwight Eisenhower in his farewell speech of 1961.[iii].The list of countries attacked by NATO, and by the USA in particular, is a monstrosity in its gigantism, which corroborates the Baran/Sweezy theory of war being an economic necessity for the monopoly capitalist economy of the USA.

But there is an almost childish difficulty for people to accept this fact, even among people on the left. This is justified even by the illogicality of this militaristic path, even for the security of the aggressor: only from an economic perspective that shows that stagnationism can only be overcome with wars can the “logic” in operation be understood.

However, this is not well accepted yet. There is even a recurring reading of the facts accusing that the “USA was defeated in Afghanistan”, that they would have left this country “in a humiliating way that August 2021…” This reading is a mistake: as it assumes that the USA will someday They intended to “win” the war in Afghanistan, a country they invaded in 2003 and in which they remained until 2021…

There was no “victory” project! There would be no “peace”, with reconstruction of the country, with an “Afghan Marshall plan”: that was never the objective of such a war! The objective there was the perpetuation of war: war as an end in itself. Point! And they did. And they only left in 2021 because a much more profitable war for the ill-fated Military Industrial Complex emerged in 2022: the war in Ukraine. Otherwise they wouldn't have left! They left just to concentrate all their strength on the proxy war in Ukraine, that's the only reason they left (that's the word) Afghanistan. Just because of that, not because they “lost”.

Because we are facing a new model of plundering war: it is not simply the plundering known since the times before the ancient Romans, which in fact continues to occur (oil, wheat, plutonium, poppies... continue to be confiscated in the areas invaded today), but it is a war of looting whose main loot comes from its costs, fueled by ground human flesh being made into fuel to feed the military Keynesianism of the American military industrial complex (and British: which is nothing behind in this militaristic economic model). The goal is public financing of military costs on an ever-increasing scale, the ripple effects of which feed the US monopoly capitalist economy. Therefore, honest discussions about “security” and “pacification” become beautiful words to fill empty papers with answers to this historical sphinx that shadows the world towards a endless war planetary.

Hence the strangeness of this article with the relative disregard of this fact in Professor Jeffrey Sachs' analyses: there are excellent critical analyzes of the situation by him, which culminate in the apparently logical conclusion that politics and diplomacy would be the best way to repair the Peace. But peace is not the objective of a political structure that, as Eisenhower had already warned, really appears to be hijacked.”by the owners of the means of mass destruction over the owners of the means of mass production".[iv]

From Republic to Empire

The US government is the one that has invaded other countries in the world the most throughout world history. To substantiate this fact, an official report from the US Congress, from 2022, is published here, listing the countries invaded by the US between 1798 and 2022.[v]. And such a necrophilic march took off in the 21st century on a list that defies security logic, as these were obviously not wars fought in search of greater security for the aggressor country:

(i) Iraq (invaded in 2003 with weapons of mass destruction that this country did not have…); (ii) Afghanistan; (iii) Libya (2011 the Obama government kills the historic secular president of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, throwing the country into chaos, which made the African country that had the highest HDI until then return to having a slave market, hence the explosion of an emigration crisis in the Mediterranean); (iv) Proxy war in Syria since 2011; (v) Palestine under colonial occupation since 1948; (vi) Civil war in Sudan/attack on Yemen… And such a list could go on…

There is in this endless macabre crusade, in this endless war, an economic determinism (it's the economy, stupid!), which escapes any minimal political logic: because, as already stated, there is no search for peace or stability in areas in conflict, but there is a pre-State regression, with the plethora of militia forces of private armies and the regression of groups religious fundamentalists (Islamic/Jewish/evangelical Talibanization…). War generating wars…

Unlike the stupid joke that the comedian Globo, Renato Aragão, said in the 1980s, filled with self-hatred against Brazil, that “the solution for Brazil would be to wage war against the USA, because then, after winning, they would rebuild us, and we would become rich like Germany or the Japan…” What history confirms is that the “Marshall plan” was an absolute exception: only countries with the possibility of becoming communist were given space in the capitalist system to develop: South Korea, Japan, Taiwan (bordering on communist China); Western Germany, as well as other countries in Western Europe (bordering on the Warsaw Pact countries).

As Getúlio Vargas demonstrated, who demanded from the USA a “Marshall plan” for Latin America, after World War II, in which Brazil collaborated in the war effort, Brazil would have to fight only for its “Marshall plan”, as such The developmental agenda was absurdly restricted within the historical horizon of the center of the capitalist system: development would be for the few.

But this illusion of war as a phase (and not as something structural), as a path to “reconstruction”, continues in the mental paradigm of the majority of today's infantilized adults: an army of idiotic adults who continue repeating the comedian's stupid illusion Renato Aragão, no matter how much the facts confirm that when a country falls under attack by the USA, by NATO, it will probably not find peace for a few generations. And much less any development…

The aim of war is to cause more wars, and prevent the development of the areas under attack. The list of endless wars, concentrated in the Middle East, North Africa, in Ukraine, continues to increase in a very dangerous way, and Professor Sachs' political alarm is more than justified, but it is argued here that there is a lack of greater focus on the level of absurd importance not only of the military industrial complex, but of the entire centrality of this complex as a lever against the stagnation of the entire US economy. As the US corporate media, without major security arguments to defend such wars, no longer disguises that it defends such wars to improve the “internal economy” of the US.[vi]

And the entire economy is driven by the militarist lever, even the Big Tech They are tributaries and children of the military industrial complex, and there is no vanguard area in the USA that is not subject to a political agenda that seeks wars for economic needs.

All traditions and intellectual lines in political science and international relations: realism, liberalism, and even parts of Marxism, are negligent of the centrality of war as the US economic axis against the stagnation of monopoly capitalism. It is against such negligence that this article is raised. To what extent is the US dialogical blockade against Russia a mask of a structuring economic interest, which has taken on Minotauric dimensions? There is no real intellectual debate today, dealing with current historical projections, with the center of analysis being the hijacking of politics by the economic interests of the military-industrial complex.

The aforementioned British Marxist historian E. Hobsbawm, in his same work, highlights how central the war was in the first part of what he called the short century. XX, and how much it disappeared from the center of the system after Hiroshima. He argues that nuclear weapons drove war into the so-called Third World after 1945. It is this “armed peace of nuclear deterrence” that is heating up and being melted today by the increasingly greater active aggressiveness of the USA.

Jeffrey Sachs is right to be alarmed by the shamelessness with which the White House, since President Clinton in 1997, has advanced the expansion of NATO over the former Warsaw Pact countries: such an advance, in addition to being a breach of the West's word with Russia (which with the end of this Pact heard the oral “guarantee” that “NATO would not go east”, but the Russians did not get this commitment in writing: unforgivable failure!), this expansion of NATO is also a growing cause of instability, imbalance and military insecurity for the entire planet, starting with Europe itself.

Professor Jeffrey Sachs is right to appeal to politics, but to wake up the people, and the more enlightened elites, for a popular resumption of the States, it is necessary to shed more light on the forces that in the USA hijacked the Republic: hence the centrality of war in the American economy and the control of the military industrial complex over the State needs to be better understood and studied: only then can popular Politics be reborn with the necessary vigor and effectiveness.

However, the growing Ticktockian alienation of the masses, the growing structural illiteracy, and the intellectual regression of young people, increasingly binary in this Brave New World digital, discourages greater hopes for a political recovery among the masses. The increase in the complexity of problems, coupled with the general intellectual regression in understanding them, including the elites, project a future that is, to say the least, problematic. The abandonment of the Enlightenment heritage, in search of a systematic and cumulative study, is a mass phenomenon, with irrationalist reactions of hatred to knowledge on all sides, it is a mass phenomenon, present in all classes. The anti-Enlightenment irrationalism, which Hobsbawm accused of being structuring in fascism, is increasingly widespread everywhere.

But a concrete hope against growing irrationalism is that the gigantism of the current wave of wars can awaken, through emotional (not intellectual) pressure in the Peoples, a planetary pacifist reaction. Seeing…

Transition crisis and systemic war

In this political campaign to defend pacifism, old Europe is the gateway to political failure under the poisoning of NATO: the “European project” has increasingly been sabotaged by its military structure: NATO. It is worth remembering that De Gaulle withdrew France from NATO, in addition to vetoing the entry of England (the “Platform 1 of Oceania”: as George Orwell called England in 1984) into the European Union. The wisdom, popular nationalism, and strategic thinking of Gaullism are prohibited in a Europe that today is mentally kidnapped, and is heading towards becoming a colonial backyard of the Orwellian “Oceania”, or what they call Five Eyes (USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand).

Such a civilizational failure of Europe is a very dangerous sign of the collapse of global governance: the colonial/voluntary submission in which Europe finds itself paves the way for the blindness of total war. Even with a gas pipeline to supply the German economy with Russian gas being blown up (which constitutes an act of war against Europe and its energy security), European public opinion remains idiotic in favor of defending a war that destroys all its energy security and it runs out of cheap energy: instead of bringing Russian gas in pipelines, the “ecological” Europeans are paying much more to bring liquid gas from ships from the USA and Canada, in a system that is unsustainable both logistically, economically and even ecologically!

Really, we should study Europe as an occupied continent. Until the end of the USSR, this situation was hidden in a political construction in which the USA feared the influence of the other side, since 1991 a picture of open occupation of the old continent has emerged, in which the masks have fallen, and European governments work to serve the US economy and AGAINST the people of Europe.

The war in Ukraine caused by the obsession with expanding NATO to Kiev pushed Europe onto the precipice of war, energy shortages, inflation due to the absurd increase in energy prices. It is not necessary to continue listing how the war in Ukraine is a catastrophe for Europe, what is necessary is to find where the forces of pacifism and the defense of Europe's interests are found on the old continent. Muslim, Arab and other emigrants certainly prove to be a strong basis for this fight for world peace, since they originate, in large part, from the planetary region most violated by imperialist militarism.

In Europe, a continent in which the cause of pacifism, of anti-militarism, should be much more dominant in the public debate than it is today, the wave of refugees has been used by the growing extreme right, but a real anti-war campaign has not yet reached the required dimension. Italy, which speaks a lot “against” refugees, has Giorgia Meloni's government supporting Israel in the war of extermination in Gaza. In other words, the main cause of refugees, which are wars, is not attacked by the government, which says it is very concerned about the growth of refugees. And so he seeks to combat the victims (refugees) and not the biggest cause of the problem (wars).

Such denial of reality is general and public opinion desperately needs to recover the pressure of the political agenda against the economic hijacking of politics carried out by the military-industrial complex. The nationalization of such a complex, in all countries, was a vital first step, for which a global campaign is urgent!

This article aims to illuminate the disproportionate strength of the military-industrial complex in the current critical planetary moment and how focusing on this point is necessary to understand the real gravity of the situation and thus, attempt a greater public call for the Peace agenda. The war in Ukraine is moving towards a “Korean solution”, in which peace occurs in a climate of long ceasefire, as Russia has already achieved its objectives. But endless war of Israel against the occupied Palestinian people is heading towards a final solution macabre on the part of the Zionist state.

And this with the spread of the war to: Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and even Iran... Both Israel, the USA and the British seek such a total conflagration in the Middle East. If such a catastrophe occurs, the consequences are incalculable, and it is possible that the war of extermination started in Gaza will become a “new Saravejo” and the world will collapse into a third world war.

Transitions between leaderships in systemic cycles of historical capitalism, as Giovanni Arrighi taught, are always made through decades of wars: from the Genoese to the Dutch (wars of the 30 years 1618-1648); from Dutch to English (Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815); from the English to Americans (I and II World Wars: 1914-1918/1939-1945)... Therefore, we could not expect the Chinese rise to be received differently: the rise of China as an economic power is a challenge to which the USA They will not wait peacefully for the economic progress of the situation, and against which they will fight in every way. What was not known, but seems to become increasingly evident, is that they are willing to take such a transition crisis into a total war.

More and more military personnel and senators comment on a “possible war in Taiwan” in 2026[vii]… What most frightens central pacifists, like Professor Sachs, in this world very similar to pre-1914, is that the escalation of war (something that even seems to be inevitable…) between nuclearized powers will find some epilogue outside of the nuclear apocalypse. Because the wars on the periphery, as they have always occurred, continue to explode, and are moving quickly towards the center.

Ukraine was a rehearsal of what should happen in Taiwan soon: because American military analysts argue that the next 10 years are the last historical window in which a war against China, at sea (obviously: because China is uninvadable by its demographic volume) would be possible for the USA. Conventional war approaches nuclearized countries: how to ensure that such weapons are not used???

Indeed, the pacifist joy of the fall of the Berlin Wall, with the celebration of dissuasive pacifism, was a spring of a few years, before the confrontationist winter that is shaping up to be the 21st century. Let us just remember that in the century. In the 19th century, while England was the hegemonic power that was becoming financialized, Germany and the USA were the rising industrial forces. The USA in the 19th century was a force of progressive industrial capitalism,[viii] analogous to the industrialist productivism that China represents today.

Even though there were two wars between England and Germany in the 19th century. XX, there was also a composition of this same England with the USA. History is not written in the stars, nor is it determined by the past: the past guides us and different solutions are possible. Like some composition between the emerging industrial force and the traditional hegemonic force. In this current transition, the US/China relationship may become more similar to the UK/US relationship in the 20th century. XX, than the United Kingdom/Germany relationship.

We will see how these forces are recomposed, but a broad campaign for Peace, for pacifism, is vital for this recomposition of human paths, especially with the Peoples duly understanding the economic weight and strength of the death industry in this political path.

*Cristiano Addario de Abreu He has a PhD in economic history from USP.


[I] Hobsbawm, Eric. Age of extremes: the brief 1995th century. Editora Companhia das Letras, 144. p. XNUMX

[ii] Baran P, Sweezy PM. Monopoly capitalism: essay on the American economic and social order. Zahar Editores, Rio de Janeiro. 1978.


[iv] Jayati Ghosh, economics professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, & University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA.

[v] Informing the legislative debate since 1914. Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2022. Updated March 8, 2022, p. 2. Library of Congress, Congressional Research SVC, 2022. Congressional Research Service. Available in:




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