The tremors of the United States’ tensions with Russia playing out in Europe are being felt in different ways already in Asia. The hypothesis of Ukraine being in Europe and the conflict being all about European security is delusional.
From Kazakhstan to Myanmar, from Solomon Islands to the Kuril Islands, from North Korea to Cambodia, from China to India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the fault lines are appearing.
To be sure, extra-regional powers had a hand in the failed colour revolution recently to overthrow the established government in Kazakhstan, a hotly contested geopolitical landmass two-thirds the size of India, bordering both China and Russia, Washington’s sworn adversaries. Thanks to swift Russian intervention, supported by China, a regime change was averted.
Cuba, like every other country on the planet, is struggling with the impact of COVID-19. This small island of 11 million people has created five vaccine candidates and sent its medical workers through the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade to heal people around the world. Meanwhile, the United States hardens a cruel and illegal blockade of the island, a medieval siege that has been in place for six decades. In April 2020, seven United Nations special rapporteurs wrote an open letter to the United States government about the blockade. “In the pandemic emergency,” they wrote, “the lack of will of the U.S. government to suspend sanctions may lead to a higher risk of such suffering in Cuba and other countries targeted by its sanctions.” The special rapporteurs noted the “risks to the right to life, health and other critical rights of the most vulnerable sections of the Cuban population.”
The events in the Middle East have made a large number of interstate relations of the former “allies” very complicated due to the large-scale operation “Arab Spring”. After the failure of the original idea of creating the Great Middle East, a project in which the main role was played by Washington, in alliance primarily with the Gulf monarchies but also with Turkey, there was a great redefinition of relations within the axis.
Realizing that its interests in the region will not be satisfied in the alliance with the United States, Turkey turned another page in foreign policy, trying to satisfy its own interests, thus at the same time defying the synergistic policy of the NATO pact in the Middle East.
This act was a revolt within the NATO bloc itself. The most concrete results were seen with the realization of the “Turkish Stream” project with Russia and the purchase of modern S-400 anti-aircraft systems from Russia, despite numerous warnings from official Washington.
Andrew Kolin’s Political Economy of Labor Repression in the United States (Lexington Books, 2016) successfully demonstrates how labour repression is organic to capitalism; something that is central to the very constitution of the capitalist economy and its state. Traversing the history of the United States, the book is a survey of the evolving relationship between capital and labour and how repression has been (re)produced in and through that evolution – something that is structurally manifest in the institutional exclusion of labour. However, by presenting it as an expression of class struggle, the book refuses to deprive labour of its agency. It does not view labour as passive or even merely reactive. It suggests that insofar as the political economy of repression is composed through capital-labour interactions, it is contradictory and provides moments of escape or liberation from repression.