Sylvester J. Kowalski, October 24, 2018
David Harvey’s The New Imperialism is a must-read to get an understanding of the US’s method of imperialism and its concurrent actions in capital accumulation. In the first several chapters, he outlines the US imperialism and especially capital-accumulation, since 1870. The purpose of imperialism is to facilitate capital accumulation. Crisis occurs when capital-accumulation is stymied, such as in the 1846-1850 (in Europe), during the US Civil War, and during the 1930s US Great Depression. At the beginning of the 2000s, the US embarked on the Middle East ‘War on Terror’ to rejuvenate its need for capital-accumulation, but, during this period, two significant competitors began their long quest of standing in the way of US hegemony: China and Russia. Until 2015, when Russia entered the Syrian war on Syria’s behalf, and until China about 2015 announced, its Belt Road Initiative, the US ignored both of these powers. Currently, the US cannot extract capital from either Russia or China, and, as a consequence, is going through a crisis. The US in response is using economic (sanctions, tariffs against China, etc.), political shouting, and military (all kinds of military threats including a first nuclear strike against Russia, all to no avail.
China now has an economy, when based on purchasing power parity, greater than that of the U.S., and will begin to extract capital from other countries as Belt Road Initiative continues. Russia for its part has been successful in economic growth in Russia and its successful global trade. Now with the Saudi Arabia, Russia formed OPEC+ which has, since its inception, balanced oil supply and demand, and consequently stabilized oil prices. Its goal is oil at $65 to $70 a barrel. US stupidity has increased the oil price to $80 a barrel because of US sanctions on Iran, instigating political problems in Venezuela, and destroying Libya. Obviously Trump is livid, and is demanding that Saudi Arabia increase oil production. What is important is that Russia is now controlling oil prices. The US now has little influence on this important commodity.
The US is now in a crisis relative to its inability whether by economic, political, or military means to continue capital accumulation because Russia and China have stymied this US process.