The Trump regime has unveiled its new strategy for National Security in the era of “amerika first” policy-making. The regime’s hope is to stabilize the evaporating amerikan dominance by reorienting amerikan security policy from one predicated on diplomacy to one built on overwhelming force—hardly a novel concept in amerikan foreign policy. The new plan rests on four basic pillars: protect the homeland, promote amerikan prosperity, preserve peace through strength, and advance amerikan influence. The one which immediately stands out to us is the third pillar: “preserve peace through strength.” The details of such a plan are entirely focused on further militarization of foreign policy and military restructuring as a method of establishing sweeping amerikan dominance. This stands out precisely because it depends upon fear, power in its most hollow form.
The problem here is, what happens when the world is no longer afraid? This is an especially troubling prospect for amerikan imperialists as the world rediscovers its own sovereignty in the face of decaying amerikan hegemony. Even in the imperialist north, former allies are distancing themselves from the sinking amerikan imperialist project in favor of their own, independent imperialism. Nowhere in the National Security plan are concrete measures for the rehabilitation of amerikan “soft-power” proposed, it is all discussion of force. In fact, their current policy has done more to harm amerikan hegemony in the past years than to strengthen it, with the abandonment of the Paris Climate Agreement, their withdrawal from UNESCO, their condemnation of the Iran Nuclear Deal and the recognition of Jerusalem as the undivided capital of israel, the world is beginning to imagine a future of isolated amerikan power. The former cohesion of the imperial world is fragmenting, and an increasingly unpredictable multipolarity is taking its place; one that amerika is finding it difficult to cope with.
The united $tates no longer commands “respect” throughout the imperial world, and much less among the Third World. All that amerika has left to bargain with is fear, propagated by the overwhelming use of force. To intensify this effort they have proposed new waves of military modernization and new frontiers of imperial conquest, under the dubious pretext of ensuring peace between nations. The problem here is twofold: first of all, the kind of “peace” they wish to establish is one of continued amerikan dominance and unipolarity, a state of affairs that has only brought perpetual warfare. Secondly, a strategy of imposed strength only works when fear is cheap, and when the confidence of those peoples you wish to suppress is low. That is no longer the case. The amerikan imperialists have pummeled away the soil only to find bedrock. The people of the Third World are no longer afraid, and their self-confidence is no longer restrained by amerikan military might or false promises of prosperity and so-called democracy. For the Third World, the only thing standing between them and independence is a paper tiger.
That does not mean we should not take seriously the proposals for amerikan military expansion, despite their decaying worldwide hegemony, amerikan imperialists still command forces which can end thousands of lives at the snap of a finger. We should not underestimate their desire to cling to empire. Their time will come, but it is not yet set in stone when that will be, and we should not risk ourselves and others with the delusion that the demise of amerikan imperialism will be quick and quiet. They have already determined with this strategy that it will be loud, and that they will struggle against the forward momentum of the Third World. They will attempt, at all costs, to preserve their empire against the shrinking prospects for renewal. This is particularly dangerous in a multipolar world, with the growing threat of major inter-imperialist conflict.
Their strategy for military mobilization only intensifies this threat. In this new strategy, Trump specifies Russia and China as “rival powers” which threaten amerikan national security, and obstruct their interests abroad. The united $tates is increasingly uncomfortable with the thought of sharing the world stage with such powerful competitors, especially while their worldwide hegemony shrinks. More immediately dangerous is their identification of “terrorism” as the greatest threat to amerikan national security. While the threat of inter-imperialist war looms, an ongoing war against islamic and anti-imperialist fighters goes on uninterrupted. The ultimate aim of this strategy is to provide a stronger justification for further action against those deemed “sponsors of terrorism” such as Iran and the DPRK. Although they cannot defeat the anti-imperialist forces, their actions have a human cost, and it is their intention that the Third World pay a very high price so that they may retake their seat at the head of world affairs.
But amerika cannot turn back the clock, and restore their short-lived unipolarity. The only way is forward, toward an uncertain future of transformation or collapse. For anti-imperialists, this pathway presents as many opportunities as it does dangers. Internationally, this new strategy will only serve as a bloody confirmation of amerika’s demise. We must be prepared to intervene in whatever ways we can to prevent the full scope of this new strategy from being realized. Although they may not be able to restore what has been lost, the remilitarization of amerikan foreign policy could mean an intensification of both imperial and inter-imperial conflict at the expense of many millions of lives worldwide. The role of revolutionaries and anti-imperialists in the united $tates must be the obstruction of amerikan war efforts and the construction of domestic revolutionary power. Our primary tasks are to solidify the relationship between our movements and those of the whole world, quicken the demise of amerikan imperialism, and outmaneuver both neoliberals the far-right in the construction of alternatives post-collapse.