The Looming Threat of Nuclear War

Janna Kadri, Orinoco Tribune, Jan 12, 2024 —

Capitalism is not here until the end of history; it is here to end history.

Nuclear war is possible but highly improbable. It is possible because the very existence of such weapons and advances in first-strike capability are sufficient reasons to anticipate such a war. It is highly improbable for the obvious reason that much of the planet ceases to support much of life.

Although humanity has navigated upheavals of immense destruction throughout history, it has also engaged in colossal acts of self-destruction, and there are precedents to wars of massive auto-destruction. Hiroshima and Nagasaki provide a glimpse of nuclear horrors, while the ongoing course of environmental degradation to the point of harming the sustainability of life is something like a nuclear conflagration playing out in slower motion.

When the course of social events is commandeered by the fluctuations of the market, and when people are born into such courses of events and adopt the mindset of predatory markets, they come close to becoming like the things or commodities that trade on the market. The more people internalize the necessity of things that sell to make profits at any cost, the more likely becomes the act of auto-destruction.

Capital’s Destructive Path
Francis Fukuyama’s ‘End of History’, intended to show that with the collapse of communism, capitalism became the reigning system for all time, but missed the obvious point that systems necessarily degenerate. Since capital exteriorizes its costs, including costs of wars that cheapen resources and unredeemed effects of pollution, to make higher profits, the exponential growth or profits must corrode the social and natural bases that support life.

Capitalism is not here until the end of history; it is here to end history. The clash of civilizations is not a clash of cultural beliefs. It is a clash between people being consumed by the capital system, mainly residing in the South, and people consuming the South. In such a two-tier system of cannibalizing and cannibalized people, the structure of capital in the North, manifested in the achievements of Western civilization which is no more than trail of death and destruction, imposes such civilization upon masses that struggle to survive.

The clash of civilizations is a cross-cutting clash between the civilization of capital and a civilization of labor, namely centered in the South. While longevity in the bottom South is merely 50 to 60 years old, the North is about to average 100 years of life expectancy. So long as the ideas of the North, or capital, which are about profits at any social costs, command the imagination of the people in command, the possibility and probability of nuclear war will remain.

Silent tremors
Regarding the nuclear race, a different atmosphere prevails in this day and age – an atmosphere of silence. This eerie silence is the absence of dialogue on prohibition of nuclear weapons and an insinuation that the scare tactic of nuclear war lurks in the background. One only needs to observe the insane frequency with which the word “nuke” has been mentioned in recent news reports to realize that Armageddon may not be just a mythical story.

Loose talk of military conflicts between nuclear nations, like the US intervening in Russia or fighting alongside Taiwan, is thrown without regard to the fact that by the logic of the prisoner’s dilemma, no conventional war between nuclear powers remains conventional. Fearing that the other might use nuclear arms to strike first, both powers will resort to an early strike to hedge against the losses attendant upon first strike capabilities.

Also at this juncture, the losses of NATO in Ukraine and the genocide against Arabs in Gaza, which had further exposed the true nature of Western civilization, fuel geopolitical tensions for a US empire that cannot relinquish the mandate of commodities over history. It cannot renounce destroying society and nature to make ever-rising profits, especially when the dominant roadmap of its social mind, the dominant ideas, amounts to all ideas that ethically justify making profits at any cost. To add to the pot of tensions, the recent BRICS expansionde-dollarization and the inexorable rise of China, all corner the US-led Western hemisphere into drastic measures to arrest the decline.

Imperial retreat
The US empire senses its retreat. For some time now, its treasury bills are not all selling like hotcakes. The US currently faces a national debt of $34 trillion, and when household and other debts are added, which are considered vis-à-vis its receding global hegemony, which underwrites its credit/money, the prospects of living off the avails of imperialist racketeering begin to fade away.

On the surface, the economy may seem resilient, as evidenced by a Q3 GDP of $547 billion, reflecting a notable 5.2% increase. However, juxtaposed with this positive economic indicator is the Q3 budget deficit, which rose to $621 billion. In other words, the US is resorting to government borrowing to create an artificial growth, and this primarily involves the use of US Treasuries to raise funds and manage budgetary shortfalls.

In addition to this, it funds two separate wars, while simultaneously trying to avert inflationary pressures by raising interest rates that boomerang to devalue bank assets and raise the service of current debts. Since the US borrows in its currency, it could just print money to pay off its debts (debt monetization). It could do so without much concern so long as it is in control of the world. Controlling the world, ergo imperialist hegemony, is owning the world. When fully in control, the US can borrow in its own currency and pay back in its own currency no matter the amount, since the world with all its resources is the collateral that it holds.

As an odd case in the history of empires, its debt issuance is its wealth. In other words, it borrows money from a lender, yet the lender becomes a borrower from the US. However, now the US owns less of the world. It cannot print away money to Ukraine, it must confiscate Russian assets to fund its war. Reflexively, to control more it must war against the powers that have eaten away at its power base or dollar collateral. There lies the issue of people in control, whose minds are controlled by things or markets for things, vying for more control to support dollar hegemony against China and Russia, a matter which makes the probability of war all the more likely. Here, the rule may be: the more the people in control at the helm of empire become commodified, or think like the trajectory of a commodity, the closer auto-destruction becomes.

First strike
The US primarily relies on militarism to expand and maintain its dominance. Its foreign policy is inherently aggressive because financial domination is intricately tied to military power. In terms of ethical considerations, it is crucial to bear in mind that capital’s interests are benchmarks for moral actions. This implies that anything conflicting with processes of accumulation is deemed devious. US-led capital, in particular, has an extensive history of leading military interventions aimed at thwarting anti-systemic formations, not only cheapening labor and resources but also robbing masses of the capacity to develop. Essentially, capitalism is geared towards the destruction of value, and paradoxically, the more it destroys, the stronger it becomes.

Does this imply that the US would immediately turn to nuclear warfare? Certainly not. There is a strategic progression to be followed, eliminating options that prove ineffective, beginning with diplomacy, then issuing warnings, moving on to military confrontations, until reaching the final recourse: the consideration of a first strike – and the option will continue to be entertained as long as the weapons exist. On this note, it is worth pointing out that the US is progressively running out of options as it faces an increasing sense of isolation on the global stage. The refusal of longstanding allies to join Operation Prosperity Guardian has particularly become a source of embarrassment for the US.

Pacts Eroding
In such a climate, there is a prevailing sense that the significance of nuclear pacts is diminishing. This was already evidenced by past practices of “nuclear sharing” among NATO allies and the non-renewal of the JCPOA agreement. It is however crucial to highlight that in the face of imminent nuclear threat, China has opted to deescalate. China has reiterated its commitment to the principle of ‘No First Use’ (NFU). Russia has recently suspended its commitments to the New START and recently announced that the Russian parliament could revoke its ratification of the treaty banning nuclear tests. Such a response may be better described as one in which key players are actively monitoring unfolding events in Ukraine. With the potential of a NATO intervention in Ukraine, the world joins in watching the madness.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *