US Capital on the World Imperialist Chessboard

Even the spokesmen of the bourgeoisie recognize that within the short-to-medium term, humanity faces the real possibility of a hot war between major imperialist powers. Capitalism, unable to overcome its profound crisis of profitability, compels states towards stronger competition with their rivals.

Imperialists are becoming desperate in overcoming that crisis; they are already broadcasting propaganda for a “good war” for democracy, preparing workers for their slaughter. There are no national solutions to overcome this congenital crisis. The solutions that capital proposes are militarization and war; capitalism opens the path towards world war. Only the working class led by a revolutionary organization can overthrow the capitalist system, bringing an end to imperialism.

Let’s look at how “our” national imperialists, with the world’s largest military budget behind them, contribute to this drive towards generalized war around the globe:

Israel and Palestine

The atrocious invasion of the Gaza Strip by the IDF was directly enabled by the US state. In the wake of the Hamas attack, the Biden administration gave Israel a blank check to attack with all means available to it: carpet bombing, sieging hospitals, blockading all aid for weeks. The message that the US is fully behind Israel’s war is backed up by a $14 billion military package to Israel and the deployment of two US aircraft carriers to be used as a club against any state that wants to join the fray.

This has had ripple effects across the Middle East. The conflict has strengthened Iran and brought their allies closer into an anti-US block. Iran's interest is in escalating this regional conflict to limit its own enemies and force its allies such as China, Russia and North Korea to give the Ayatollah's regime greater support.

The Abraham Accords, brokered by the US, normalized relations between Israel and Bahrain and the UAE, and talks were ongoing between Israel and Saudi Arabia until the conflict erupted. With fewer and fewer Arab countries supporting the creation of a Palestinian state, it was in the interests of both Hamas and Iran to break through this isolation. Iran is intending on Israel's indiscriminate slaughter of Palestinians and the impending refugee crisis to turn states such as Egypt away from the US. Additionally, in the aftermath of this latest imperialist butchery, proletarians both Jew and Arab are being mobilized around the national flag, taught by bloody massacres to run into the arms of their ruling classes, all too ready to sacrifice them in more slaughter. This all creates another flashpoint on capitalism’s road to world war.

Saudi Arabia

The US is realizing it's not the only major imperialist power that has economic, political and military influence: its power is being checked even in countries that are its key allies, like Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is a major pillar of US imperialism, both militarily and in the extraction and sale of oil. Currently, other states are forced to purchase Saudi oil in USD, promoting dollar hegemony. However, there have been talks between Saudi Arabia and China in trading oil in the Chinese Yuan, which would pose a significant threat to US domination of the resource and region.

In May, China mediated the normalization of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran. This weakens the US’ anti-Iran bloc in the Middle East, and follows the US condemning Saudi Arabia's bombing and blockading of Yemen. It is still up for debate if the US will help Saudi Arabia develop their nuclear energy program. The Saudis, like any imperialists, have interests that go beyond their allies; their relationship with their western allies has become increasingly strained. They have been increasingly modernizing their economy for military preparedness in order to better maneuver in the imperialist arena for themselves.


Egypt is in a similar position, their alliance with the US is tenuously based on military funding and economic assistance. A percentage of the yearly US funding is subject to "human rights" certification and in 2022, the Biden administration withheld $130 million for human rights violations. There's been calls more recently to hold back $300 million of the $1.3 billion dollar assistance package over a corruption probe.

Egyptian relations with Russia have grown since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war. President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi was set to sell Russia 40,000 long range missiles in order to increase the state's revenues and receive food aid to help prevent the social situation in Egypt from worsening. The US made Egypt sell the missiles to Ukraine despite Russia funding Egypt's nuclear energy program.

The US has been pressuring Egypt to open its borders for Palestinian aid and refugees. Egypt opposes the entrance of Palestinian refugees, and this will cause them to move away from the west diplomatically. Egypt's most important asset is the Suez Canal which connects the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean for not just cargo, but war vessels as well. This is integral for the US imperialism's naval hegemony. American imperialism will fight to prevent decoupling from either Egypt or Saudi Arabia, two crucial states that it cannot afford to let escape its orbit.


The US has invaded Haiti multiple times in history, most recently in 1995 and orchestrating a coup in 2004. As the social situation rapidly declines in Haiti, made worse by the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021 and with Port-au-Prince out of government control, the US state has been looking for a junior imperialist power to invade instead. The Biden administration tried foisting the task onto Canada, reasoning that the US is contributing a large amount of aid to Ukraine. Canada instead has utilized softer economic imperialist tactics, such as providing $100 million for the state's policing and have sanctioned Haitians associated with gangs and assassination.

The US is interested in preventing Haitian asylum seekers from entering at all costs no matter how repressive the measures are. Already 200,000 Haitians have fled their homes, while workers are massacred daily by gangs and the national police. A multinational force led by Kenya is set for deployment at the start of 2024. Kenya's motivations are clear in leading the intervention; it gives them greater political and economic support in carrying out this favor for the US, showcases their military capabilities, and gets experience for any future war. Kenyan President Ruto has already received gratitude from Biden for leading the mission. Now, Haitian workers are in the crosshairs of both gangs and the Kenyan state.


The war in Ukraine has led to the consolidation of imperialist blocs, with NATO dominated by the US on one side, and Russia, junior partner to China, on the other. It is this war, since February 2022, that has opened capitalism’s path to generalized imperialist war.

The war has led to the strengthening of the US bloc; Finland and Sweden moved to join NATO against Russia, and the USD is stronger due to military spending. The Biden administration has given Ukraine $75 billion in military aid since the beginning of the war. The US’ strategy in this war is to bleed Russia dry through the industrial slaughter of conscripted proletarians from Russia and Ukraine.

The Ukrainian state believes through continued western support that they can retake Crimea and the Donbass and are willing to feed workers to the meat grinder against the earthworks holding Russian territorial gains. Russia has only been able to offset the harsh sanctions imposed by the West through China and India's economic and diplomatic support. The US has been able to push Putin into implementing a regime of exception; the already worsening conditions for workers, coupled by martial law and conscription, is a gamble for the Russian bourgeoisie.


Biden and Secretary Blinken use every speech and press conference to underline China’s threat to US imperialist interests. China's threat to US hegemony is greater than the USSR's which relied almost exclusively on its military capabilities.

US-based military alliances with the intended purpose of containing China are multiplying, such as the trilateral security partnership "AUKUS" between the US, UK, and Australia and the "Quad", a security partnership between Australia, India, Japan and the US.

Despite the US not recognizing Taiwan, it poses a major threat to China's strategic interest. Taiwan received $345 million in funding for the first time through the "Foreign Military Financing Program" that's reserved for "sovereign states." The "Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act" also authorizes $2 billion in military grants for Taiwan until 2027. The US predicts a Chinese invasion of Taiwan this decade, prompting the CHIPS act to move semiconductor production away from Taiwan to the US, Europe and Vietnam which has recently upgraded its diplomatic status with the US.

Biden has pledged that in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, the US military will come to the defense of Taiwan. It is the struggle between the US and China for control over Taiwan, the South China Sea, and the world’s resources generally that presents the clearest path to a generalized imperialist war. The US and China are the poles around which are forming the battlelines for a new round of planetary destruction on a scale perhaps greater than the world wars of the last century.

The US bourgeoisie, along with their European and pro-NATO allies, frame their imperialist dispute as one for democracy. This is a proven way to take workers off of their own class terrain to withstand declining living conditions, and march off for war to kill or be killed by other workers.

US capital divided on how best to plunder

The US ruling class is divided on its commitment in continuing aid for Ukraine. The Republican Party is the most divided on the subject of Ukraine, partly due to former president Donald Trump. This division led to the historic removal of speaker of the House McCarthy. He maintained spending for military aid for Ukraine in the bill to raise the debt ceiling, against the position of most republicans who had voted down further aid several times. This got the "neo conservatives" faction to support the Democratic party who they now see as the party of order best for US imperialism.

Despite the turmoil on the question of Ukraine, all camps of the American bourgeoisie are in favor of preparing the country for a struggle against its main imperialist rival, China. Biden's policies are a continuation of Trump's, especially regarding "economic nationalism" exemplified with the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and CHIPS Act. These acts are for contending with China in battery and semiconductor production and rearmament for military preparedness.

These major federal investments have their basis in the American state’s need for building an economy capable of fighting a generalized imperialist war. On August 16, 2022, Congress passed the IRA which includes investments for "Green energy", constructing new nuclear reactors and EV battery plants. OPEC continues to cut production despite US pressure, while US strategic oil reserves are the lowest they have been since the 1980s. The green paint splattered over the IRA really prepares the US economy for self-sufficiency in the case of war and further integrates the unions for this purpose. Green energy acts and curtailing "de-industrialization" have the blessing of the AFL-CIO which are state offices to maintain discipline in the face of increased unemployment, declining wages and living standards. This disciplining of our class will only heighten in the event that production serves any future “war effort.”

The IRA is part of the current project to revitalize American profits; aka, future revenue to fund war production. The state is shaken by the crisis stemming from the failure of capital to accumulate further exacerbated by Covid-19, the war in Ukraine and inflation further reducing anemic profits. These conditions have empowered the state to further assaults on workers’ living standards in the name of defense. National defense was used as the reason when the Biden administration passed legislation preventing railroad workers from striking against declining wages and workplace safety protection; we can only expect to see more of this as we move closer to world war.

No matter what political divisions rack the American ruling class, no matter what program they put forth for social peace, the capitalists’ solutions are no solution for the working class. Our class, here and all over the world, can only expect more misery, slaughter, and the possibility of annihilation as capitalist imperialism threatens yet another world war. From the Straits of Taiwan to the Gaza Strip, the US is playing a key role in the strengthening of rival imperialist blocs. This can only be answered by the fight of the working class, who have nothing to gain from these deadly games, against the capitalist class in all countries and against the system of wage-labor itself.

No war but the class war!

The above article is taken from the latest issue of Internationalist Notes (#6 Fall 2023), bulletin of the Internationalist Workers’ Group.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023