Although I praised John Bellamy Foster today for his recent commentary on informal imperialism, the biggest problem with The Monthly Review crowd has always been its nearly mindless equation of the US state with US capital. Thus Foster says this month that
"There is every reason to believe that the 'Imperial America' argument espoused by Haass represents in broad outline the now dominant view of the U.S. ruling class, together with the U.S. state that primarily serves that class. After many years of denying the existence of U.S. empire, received opinion in the United States has now adopted a position that glories in the 'American imperium,' with its 'imperial military,' and 'imperial protectorates.'"Bollocks. The MR crowd too often has its nose so buried in The Weekly Standard that they actually believe Bill Kristol is the voice of capital.
Immanuel Wallerstein sets us straight.
"No doubt, George W. Bush thinks he is in the forefront of those sustaining the world capitalist system. No doubt, a large part of the world left thinks that too. But do the great capitalists think so? That is far less clear."In fact, the General thinks there is very little evidence to suggest that American capital is on board the Neoconservative Express. After all, what does Wall Street care about more -- Iraq or the EU? Condi Rice and the rest of Bush's cabal can say "punish France, isolate Germany, forgive Russia" all they want, but US bread isn't buttered in Moscow as much as it is in "old Europe".
"Hegemony is not about macho militarism. Hegemony is about economic efficiency, making possible the creation of a world order on terms that will guarantee a smoothly-running world-system in which the hegemonic power becomes the locus of a disproportionate share of capital accumulation. . . . a collapsed dollar is far more significant than an Al-Qaeda attack on the Twin Towers. The U.S. has clearly survived the latter. But it will be a vastly different U.S. once the dollar collapses. The U.S. will no longer be able to live far beyond its means, to consume at the rest of the world's expense. Americans may begin to feel what countries in the Third World feel when faced by IMF-imposed structural readjustment - a sharp downward thrust of their standard of living. "Enough parading about over Iraq and the "mission accomplished". Bush has proven he can invade alone any country he wants. Can he now shed his unilateral skin and cooperate in Evian? I'm not holding my breath.