Recent imperialist meetings have seen many new developments. The G20 meetings in Seoul, Korea brought limited success to the US’ plans for the world economy. Public disagreements broke out among the imperialist countries over issues of trade, monetary policy and government deficit spending.
The recently concluded NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal took place in the shadow of the deepening imperialist economic crisis in the US and the European Union. The same week as the summit, the EU and International Monetary Fund had to give Ireland hundreds of billions of dollars to save its failing banks, and Portugal may be next. Even while the economic ties among the US and EU imperialists are growing increasingly strained, the US and its European allies in NATO were able to agree on a common political and military strategy for defending and expanding their imperialist interests in the Middle East and Central Asia.
The articles from The Guardian and Al-Jazeera that are posted below only describe what was decided at the NATO summit. Here is Frontlines’ analysis of the summit’s most important decisions. Our comments are more extensive than usual due to the importance of this subject.
The NATO leaders announced a missile shield that will be deployed in stages beginning in 2011. This is the result of an intense US campaign to focus imperialist military coordination on isolating the Islamic Republic of Iran and forcing it to give up its nuclear program.. Throughout the upcoming decade of construction of a complex multi-billion dollar system against a handful of Iranian missiles, there will be an ever-present and hysterical media campaign claiming that the Islamic Republic is run by “unstable fanatics” who are a military threat to Europe and to Israel. Building the shield against the alleged “threat” from Iran aims to justify tighter US/EU sanctions, and to prepare political support for military action against Iran.
The summit also agreed on a timetable for “withdrawal” of NATO forces from Afghanistan in 2014. This is aimed at defusing growing opposition to the war (eg. the growing number of body bags of US and NATO troops). The 2014 withdrawal date is an attempt to buy time to prevent a total Taliban victory. The war plans of the US and NATO commanders– launching bigger offensives to clear Taliban forces out of southwest Afghanistan, and making new attempts to split the Taliban—are not new and have not prevented the Taliban from growing and spreading throughout the country. Still, the US and NATO countries have no choice but to continue the war. All of them see the victory of an anti-Western fundamentalist force like the Taliban as a threat to their imperialist interests in the Middle East and Central Asia.
Russia joins the summit
The most significant development of the summit was the agreement of Russia’s President Medvedev to cooperate with the US and NATO in several areas. Medvedev offered to provide increased military assistance to the Karzai government. The Russian government also wants to see the Taliban defeated in order to cut off a source of support for separatist Islamist forces in Chechnya and the former Soviet Central Asian republics. Most importantly, Medvedev agreed to work with the US and NATO on the missile shield. In the months before the summit, President Obama withdrew Bush’s plan to base missile interceptors in Poland, which were aimed at Russia. Based on the US’ assurance that the new missile system would be directed solely at Iran, the Russian imperialists decided that it was in their interests to cooperate in the development of the shield. Russia also agreed to support tighter sanctions against Iran, and withdrew from several of its previous agreements with Iran. Continue reading