Two important events that have a wide-ranging bearing in the global politico-economic field have come about in the third week of January 2017. Donald John Trump’s swearing in ceremony took place on 20th January as the 45th president of the US. Addressing the American people, he delivered an 18 minutes long speech in the ceremony. On the other, an annual meeting of the World Economic Forum took place in Switzerland at Davos from January 17 to 20, 2017. Chinese president Xi Jing Ping addressed the delegates for about an hour in the very first day of the meeting. In a cursory look, one should not attach so much importance to the speeches that were delivered by two presidents in the unrelated different contexts. However, content of the addresses is not limited merely to a normal sense. Two different speeches have guided the world politico-economy in line with their respective standpoints. All this is going to lead the world towards a new situation. This short article will mainly focus on this question.

In the last election, Donald Trump attained an unanticipated victory. On account of his non-political background, direct and aggressive presentation, lack of internal party unity and his dubious character on the question of women, many people did not believe that he would emerge victorious in the election. A big chunk of the world people and media were against him. In the election campaign, he made use of two issues to persuade his voters. The first one was his slogan – ‘Make America Great Again’ and the second was his strong opposition to neoliberalism and globalization. The first slogan was of great help for him to attract the ultranationalist section of the chauvinist American whites, while a big chunk of workers, the sufferers of neoliberalism and globalization, saw respite, though temporarily, in his sharp opposition to neoliberalism and globalisation. Among others, these were the main reasons behind his victory in the election.

In the inaugural ceremony, Trump emphatically raised the very issues that he had placed before the voters during his election campaign. In his address to the American people, he said, “For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military; we’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own; and spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.” In another context he said, “From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this moment on, it’s going to be America First. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.”

He further added, “We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American. We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world — but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.” Right before concluding his speech, he said, “We will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And yes, together, we will make America great again. Thank you.”

In the present world situation, these concepts and other adages that he put forward in his speech deserve special meaning. He has repeatedly talked of national unity in his address to ‘make America great again.’ This unity is based on bourgeois ultra-nationalism and gives off a bad smell of fascism. On the other, he has advocated protectionism without spelling the term neo-liberalism, and in this way he has made him stand against neo-liberalism and globalization.

On the contrary, Chinese president Xi Jing Ping strongly pleaded in support of neoliberalism and globalization. In his address delivered to Davos meeting he said, “It is true that economic globalization has created new problems, but this is no justification to write economic globalization off completely. Rather, we should adapt to and guide economic globalization, cushion its negative impact, and deliver its benefits to all countries and all nations.” He said that there are three problems facing globalization. They are: “First, lack of robust driving forces for global growth makes it difficult to sustain the steady growth of the global economy. … … Second, inadequate global economic governance makes it difficult to adapt to new developments in the global economy. … … Third, uneven global development makes it difficult to meet people’s expectations for better lives.”

He not only raised questions but provided their solutions too. The solutions he provided are: “First, we should develop a dynamic, innovation-driven growth model. … … We should adopt new policy instruments and advance structural reform to create more space for growth and sustain its momentum. We should develop new growth models and seize opportunities presented by the new round of industrial revolution and digital economy. … … Second, we should pursue a well-coordinated and inter-connected approach to develop a model of open and win-win cooperation. … … Third, we should develop a model of fair and equitable governance in keeping with the trend of the times.” In this manner, the Chinese president has not only supported the neoliberal policy and globalisation but also is determined to monopolise the world economic market by renovating neoliberal economic policies further.

The president of US imperialism that was the ringleader of world imperialist system for the past six decades and the president of China that has been vigorously competing to overtake America have stood at two opposite poles in these two different and unrelated events. In essence, the objective of both America and China has been to monopolise the world market; there is no doubt in it. But now, their ways seem to be different. Trump thinks necessary to go ahead on the basis of protectionist economic policy to curb the rising trade of China and regain the declining domination of America in the world market, while on the other, Xi Jing Ping seems confident that China can take control of the world market by persevering with neoliberal policy and globalisation. Consequently, the US and China have stood at two opposite poles: protectionism and neo-liberalism. All this indicates that the world, which was multipolar till now, is going to polarise into two opposite poles. The basis of this polarisation is in fact going to be protectionism and neoliberalism.

The neoliberal policy of imperialism, in general, and the shocking economic crisis that had started from 2008, in particular, had prompted people to ponder in favour of protectionism all across the world since before. First of all, it was translated into practice in an organised way in England over Brexit. The major political parties in the UK got divided on it. The conservative party pursued the line of Brexit and a big chunk of British workers followed it. It was in fact an unforeseen political blow for the neoliberals all across the world. On top of this, the US president Donald Trump has now upheld protectionism and he has by this time acclaimed Brexit as a great thing. Not only this, he has called on the European countries to come out from European Union, because it turned into a German vehicle. Entire Europe, establishment and opposition, has now been shaken by this. German Chancellor responded it by saying we Europeans have our destiny in our own hands. French president Hollande replied by saying Europe needs no policy advice from abroad.

On the other, the possibility of bourgeois ultra-nationalism growing in Europe has increased after the rise of Trump in America. In the meantime, Marine Le Pen the chief of the national front in France has already taken up an initiative to carry out a joint campaign among the Euro-sceptic leaders all across Europe. British Prime Minister Theresa May’s official visit to America has already been set. All this signifies that a strong bourgeois ultra-nationalist pole is developing from among the protectionists of the US, UK and Europe. Besides, one must not ignore the effort Trump had made to work with president Putin ever since the election campaign in US is related with this question.

Trump has already started abrogating trade treaties the previous governments had made with other countries. Trans-Atlantic Partnership, the trade deal that former president Obama had reached with Asia pacific countries in 2010, has already been invalidated. North American Free Trade Agreement is now in the waiting list to be scrapped soon. Mexican president, Enrique Pena Nieto, has already cancelled his official visit to the US after president Trump announced erecting wall along the US Mexican border. Donald Trump has initiated a new drive to “make America great again” by re-establishing trade monopoly all across the world through new treaties. It will result in new contradictions and new polarisation will appear because his protectionist policy is not going to create supporters only but opponents as well. Many more new decisions are likely to come about before this article has been published. However, Trump is determined to go ahead in his mission.

The contradiction between the US and China had surfaced since before. After the rise of Trump in US, the contradiction has now developed as the one between protectionism and neoliberalism. Certainly, this contradiction will have its first effect in trade between US and China. Though Trump did not mention anything about trade in his swearing in ceremony, but he had declared during the election campaign that the US will impose 45 per cent tariff on Chinese goods entering the US. In his address to Davos meeting, Xi Jing Ping diplomatically replied Trump that no one will emerge victorious in the trade war. The editorial of a Chinese online paper, the Global Times published on January 18, has expressed Chinese opinion in this regard. The editorial writes, “China will not sit still in the face of a trade war. If Trump administration imposes punitive tariffs on Chinese goods, China will not hesitate to take revenge. … … The arrogant Trump team has underestimated China’s ability to retaliate.” This reaction from China, which talks less but acts more, should not be taken lightly.

 The contradiction between the US and China that had appeared since the controversy in South China Sea was sharpening. People even anticipated that it can lead to military clashes between two giants. Now, as a result of the rise of Trump in the US, his campaign to make America great again and his economic policy based on protectionism, the contradiction between these two superpowers has intensified further. On this very Tuesday, China has threatened US to ‘act with caution’ over South China Sea. On top of this, Donald Trump has said that one China policy, which US had adopted from the time of Nixon, is negotiable. All this shows that the contradiction between the US and China seems to sharpen unusually in the days ahead.

In this era of globalised imperialism, this uncommon contradiction developed between number one and number two superpowers of the world will not merely remain as a bilateral tussle between two countries. Certainly, it will polarise the whole world. Which country stands with which pole will be clear in the days ahead. However, its indications are already visible on the horizon. Possibility of the inter-imperialist contradiction of the world making a qualitative leap into principal contradiction of the world and in turn leading to the third world war has unexpectedly increased. The danger of the third world war being erupted has further amplified because the leader like Donald Trump who is an ultra-nationalist, obstinate and lacking political background is one of the major players in this contradiction.

This is an era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. At present, the subjective condition of the revolutionaries is weak for proletarian revolution, but the objective situation is getting favourable. The contradiction between two superpowers of the world, the US and China, is intensely sharpening and the danger of the third world war has increased. In order for the proletarian revolution to advance, it is not bad thing to get the contradiction between imperialist plunderers sharpened. In this situation, the entire revolutionary communist parties of the world, including ours, must work hard to consciously accumulate subjective strength from among the proletariat and oppressed people, prepare people’s opinion against the danger of third world war and lay emphasis to develop revolutionary movements in their respective countries and the world as well. The development of proletarian revolution can prevent the world war to erupt and it can also transform the world war into revolution even if it breaks out. Therefore, the only option left to get rid of imperialism and the calamitous third world war is proletarian revolution and hence revolution is the main trend today.

January 26, 2017


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