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ON THE INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL-MILITARY FRAMEWORK OF THE MODERN WORLD
Published in the journal “Communist Review” - Theoretical and Political organ of the CC of the KKE, Issue 6/2020
The promises of various enemies of socialism about “avenues of peace and prosperity” that would open up for the peoples after the overthrow of socialism in the Soviet Union and the other European countries have never become a reality. After three decades “our modern world”, despite technological development, has become more cruel and inhumane for the working people. Historical achievements of the working class have been eliminated, while the successive capitalist crises have exacerbated the social and economic impasse of the people. Environmental destruction has continued usually under the pretext of “green development”. Public healthcare and welfare systems have been deteriorated, increasing class barriers for the satisfaction of social needs. Every year tens of millions of people are forced to abandon their homes as a result of exploitation, military interventions and wars that lead to thousands of deaths.
Our “modern world” is a world marked by capitalist relations of production, a world where big business –the monopolies– play a crucial role in the economic life of each capitalist country, which is incorporated and occupies its own position in the world imperialist system on the basis of its economic political-military strength, thus creating relations of uneven inter-dependence with the rest of the countries. Indeed, their position may change due to uneven development since “the even development of different undertakings, trusts, branches of industry, or countries is impossible under capitalism“ and, of course, the capitalists’ conflict over profit, which is the driving force of all capitalist economies, cannot stop even for a moment. A fierce conflict for the division of the market shares in each sector, in each country, region, all over the world is taking place in the framework of relentless drive for the control of energy resources, mineral resources, commodities’ transport routes etc.
This conflict embraces all aspects of capitalist economies, even the vaccines, and the medicines as it was demonstrated by the evolution of the pandemic.
It spreads around the globe. In Eurasia and Eastern Mediterranean, in the Persian Gulf and Southern Pacific, in Africa and Latin America, in the Arctic and Central Asia, there is a conflict among strong monopolies, capitalist states and their alliances. The sharpening of this conflict, in the event that trade and economic “wars” and various political-diplomatic means are not sufficient, leads to the use of military means.
Over the recent years, the focus has remained on the Eastern Mediterranean region, the wars in Syria and Libya, the US and Israeli war plans against Iran, the US involvement in Latin America against Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia, the Chinese claims against Vietnam and other Pacific countries with US involvement in the South China Sea and Taiwan, Saudi Arabia's war against Yemen. At the same time, the situation in the region of Eastern Ukraine (Donbass) and Crimea, the Caucasus and the Western Balkans remained potential flashpoints, while imperialist plans are drawn up against the peoples of Cyprus and Palestine, who have been living under foreign occupation for decades.
In these conditions it is important to highlight new data and tendencies and given the scope of this article deal with some mistaken views and confusion promoted by bourgeois and opportunist forces.
The new US-China bipolar scheme and its character
A relatively new element, which increasingly characterizes international relations, is the escalation of the confrontation between US and China. The United States remains currently the most powerful economic and political-military power in the capitalist world. The US still has the largest GDP, compared to any other country, estimated at $ 19.4 trillion, accounting for 24.4% of the world economy. The United States has the most powerful armed forces, with a wide variety of deadly weapons; it provides for the constant modernization of its arsenal, it has the largest military budget, as it will be later demonstrated, and military presence in dozens of countries. At the same time, it has a strong and unquestionable representation in all powerful transnational agreements and organizations, seeking to utilize political-diplomatic means, at multilateral and bilateral level, to ensure a strong lead over their competitors.
At the same time, China is strengthening both its economic as well its political-military strength. Its GDP is estimated at $ 12.2 trillion, accounting for 15.4% of the world’s gross domestic product, however, since 2016, the Chinese economy is the largest in the world in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). As it will be discussed below, China is gradually modernizing its armed forces, and has moved up to 2nd place in terms of military spending after the United States, while increasing its political and diplomatic means to strengthen its position.
It is obvious that these two powers, the United States and China, which are by far the strongest economies, are competing with each other for supremacy; a competition, which in principle has an economic background, given that their confrontation has many aspects, and which over the last period was reflected in a series of trade wars between the two powers, on the occasion of the dramatic increase in the US trade deficit in bilateral trade with China. On this ground, the US imposed tariffs on Chinese goods amounting to tens of billions of dollars, which were followed by similar Chinese tariffs on US value goods and crisis de-escalation agreements, all of which appear to be temporary. The United States is focusing on not losing ground in the field of new technology, and therefore, amongst other things, is stepping up its efforts to exclude China from 5G networks, which in the near future will yield huge profits to monopolies in the field of telecommunication and new technologies, while China promotes the “Silk Road” through the penetration of its own large monopolies.
Of course, the above are reflected on the political-diplomatic and military level. It is characteristic that the USA blamed China for the coronavirus pandemic, for infringement of technology, for “expansionism”, for violation of “democratic rights” etc., while, on the other hand, China, with the instrument of economic and trade agreements, seeks to undermine traditional US alliances. In this direction, the US is adapting its doctrine, considering China as its main competitor and rival, something that doesn't change with the election of Joe Biden to the US presidency.
The United States seeks to disguise this confrontation with anti-communist contrived notions, while China utilizes the ideology of “democratization” of international relations within the global imperialist system and focuses on the need to overcome the “unipolar world” in favor of a “multipolar world” and against the imposition of US policy.
The political arguments of the two most powerful world economic powers raise some questions: which are the reasons behind this confrontation? Can we consider that we have, as in the time of the USSR, a similar confrontation between two countries with different socio-political systems, a confrontation between the strongest capitalist power and a socialist power? The confusion among workers concerning these questions, especially in countries where the Communist Parties still regard China as a socialist country, or a country that “constructs socialism with Chinese characteristics”, is great.
It is worth, therefore, to dwell briefly on the character of this confrontation. It is very important to deal with the assessment of the socio-economic reality in China. It is a fact that today in China, despite the fact that the governing party has a “communist” title, capitalist relations of production prevail. From 2012 onwards steadily over 60% of China's GDP is generated by the private sector. The Chinese state has formed a complete “arsenal” aiding Chinese capitalists, which includes measures similar to those in force in the rest of the capitalist world. It is no coincidence, then, that in 2020, amid the ongoing capitalist crisis, which was accelerated by the pandemic, Chinese billionaires have reached 596, exceeding for the first time the United States, which had 537. According to the list which was published, the most powerful Chinese capitalists have in their hands colossal e-commerce groups, factories, hotels, shopping malls, cinemas, social media, mobile phone companies and so on . At the same time, according to official figures, unemployment, which marks all capitalist economies, is at 5.3% and the government's goal is to stay below 6%. Furthermore, tens of millions of wandering internal migrants, estimated at 290 million, who are employed in temporary jobs and may remain unemployed, are not counted in official statistics and may reach up to 30% of the country's workforce. Tens of millions of people have no access to contemporary social services, such as technical and higher education and healthcare, because of their commercialization and given that their incomes are very low. It is characteristic that in a field in which Cuba stands out, i.e. the ratio of doctors per 10.000 of population, as the Cuban ratio is the highest in the world (82), China is among the countries with the lowest ratio (18). The celebrations about the eradication of extreme poverty conceal that it amounts to $ 1.9 a day, while China's poverty rate reaches 24%, if it is calculated on the basis of the daily income below $ 5.5.
The above, when compared to the luxury of Chinese billionaires and millionaires, clearly show the enormous social injustice and exploitation that characterizes the capitalist mode of production in China as well.
So when we talk about the United States and China, we are talking about two forces of today’s capitalist world. China, currently an active member of all international capitalist unions, such as the World Trade Organization and the World Bank, is closely linked to the global capitalist economy. Suffice it to say that US bonds in Chinese hands alone exceed $ 1.1 trillion.
The arguments that China is following NEP policies, as the Soviet Union did, working with private capital to develop its productive forces, are unsubstantiated. There are huge differences between NEP and the current situation in China, such as duration or the fact that NEP had the character of “retreat”, as Lenin repeatedly emphasized, and was not conceptualized as an element of socialist construction, as is the case of the prevalence of capitalist relations in China, with the ideological construct of “socialism with Chinese characteristics”. Moreover, during the NEP period not only were businessmen not allowed to be members of the Bolshevik Party, but under both Soviet Constitutions (1918 and 1925), which were adopted in that period, they were deprived of their political rights, in contrast to today’s China, where dozens of businessmen occupy seats in parliament and the Communist Party.
Accordingly, the USSR cannot be compared to today's China. Even in the period when in the USSR the notions of strengthening the “market”, commodity-money relations and “peaceful competition” with the capitalist countries gained the upper hand in the Communist Party and the Soviet state, and the interconnection of the USSR with the world capitalist economy influenced the political decisions and international relations of the Soviet state, neither the interconnection of the Soviet economy with the world economy, nor the level of development of capitalist relations in it could ever be compared in terms of size and quality to today's China.
Thus, the new “bipolar scheme” has no relation to the confrontation between the US and the USSR, since today the US and China clash on the ground of the prevailing capitalist relations of production, which dominate in their economies and lead to the struggle for raw materials, transport routes, market shares, geopolitical influence, something which cannot conceal the fact that we are faced with an intra-imperialist struggle for supremacy in the imperialist system.
The US interest in buying its bonds from China, and the large US market as a place to sell goods produced in China, go hand in hand with the sharpening of the confrontation between the two powers, which takes on a global character, as it manifests itself simultaneously in many regions of the world and other international, multilateral organizations and agreements are increasingly involved in it. This demonstrates that the interdependence of capitalist economies can go hand in hand with the intensification of intra-imperialist contradictions. The political line of “taming the dragon” through the US multilateral agreements with the countries of Central and South America and the Pacific, followed by the US leadership before Trump, had not yield the expected results and was later replaced by a rigid stance towards China.
The emergence of Joe Biden in the US presidency and that section of the bourgeoisie he represents may change the “tones”, bring about changes in the tactics that the US will follow, but in no case will it suspend the fierce competition between the USA and China.
NATO planning and the struggle within it
The political-military “arm” of Euro-Atlantic imperialism also presents new elements. Thus, NATO's strategy is characterized by the planned expansion across the globe, its enlargement with new members, the establishment of partnerships with dozens of countries, the establishment of ready-made military units. Despite reports claiming that the primary target is the Islamic State-ISIS and other similar criminal groups, plans aimed at Russia and Iran were promoted at its summits in Warsaw in 2016, in Brussels in 2017 and 2018 and in London in 2019, as well as at the Council of Ministers of Defense, while China is also part of these plans. In this framework it aims to set up fully equipped infantry, air and naval units that can intervene in 30 days, on any front chosen by the NATO staff.
NATO troops remain in Afghanistan and Kosovo. Sea Guardian naval operations continue in the Mediterranean, the SNMG2 fleet is operating in the Aegean, the EU “new SOPHIA” operation in Libya is supported. The composition of the NATO Rapid Reaction Force has reached 40,000 troops. 8 headquarters were set up in Eastern Europe. 4 multinational battle formations were launched in the Baltic States and Poland. Its presence in the Black Sea was strengthened. NATO has a significant presence not only in the three former Baltic Soviet Republics (Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia), but also in Georgia and Ukraine, while with the “peace” agreement in Nagorno-Karabakh, NATO member Turkey is strengthening its political position in Azerbaijan, controlling the “channel” of the Black Sea with the Caspian Sea.
At the same time, there are more and more contradictions between the USA and Germany or the USA and France or France and Germany within NATO, but also other important contradictions, such as the ones between Turkey and France or Turkey and Greece. Macron's statements that “NATO is brain dead” are characteristic. So far these contradictions have been settled by various temporary compromises, often by means of tension easing, but their “tangle” is becoming increasingly complicated while the functionality and dynamics of the imperialist predatory alliance is challenged even by bourgeois political forces and analysts.
Our Party is at the forefront of the struggle in Greece against the imperialist organization of NATO and its plans, against the involvement of our country in them, as well as at European and international level. Our Party considers that views, developed by certain Communist Parties as well, which call for the “dissolution of NATO” without linking it with the struggle for the disengagement of each country from NATO, weaken the struggle against this imperialist organization. The rejection of the struggle for disengagement of each country, which is justified by the “immaturity” of the conditions, is not a matter of “realism” but a tendency to compromise with the negative correlation of forces leading to the wishes for “dissolution”. The KKE struggles for the disengagement from NATO and any imperialist union and considers that this disengagement can be in favor of people’s interest, only if it is safeguarded by the working class power, given, amongst other things, the experience from the temporary withdrawal of countries (France, Greece) from the military wing of NATO, in the context of intra-bourgeois competition, which subsequently reproduced the same problems.
The EU, the union of capital in Europe
Contradictions are also emerging within the EU. The uneven manifestation of the crisis affects the change of the balance of forces. Germany’s position vis a vis France and Italy is further strengthened, as the factors that strengthen the Eurozone’s centrifugal forces. This, however, does not negate the actual benefits that the bourgeoisie of the EU member states gained from the large single EU market in the international competition with the other imperialist centers.
The EU continues to implement the axes of the “global strategy” announced in July 2016. It treats the world as its “strategic environment” and estimates that changes in alliances are underway. China has become the EU’s most important partner. At the same time, this development, as well as China's overall strengthening in international relations, fosters reverse trends of warming US-German relations and strengthening the cohesion of the Euro-Atlantic alliance. In this framework, the EU increased the economic sanctions and the pressure exerted along with the US on Russia, under the pretext of the annexation of Crimea and the support of the secession of the eastern regions of Ukraine.
In order to meet its international goals for more effective penetration of European monopolies in third countries, the EU has established the so-called “Permanent Structured Military Cooperation”, PESCO. At the same time, the French-inspired “European Intervention Initiative” is being promoted in order to overcome the delays caused by the unanimous decision process so as to carry out imperialist missions immediately. Today the EU has unfolded imperialist missions in three continents.
In recent years, measures have been taken to strengthen the goal of the so-called “Strategic Autonomy” in the context of strengthening the alliance and joint interventions with NATO, which remains the main pillar of European security.
The planning of research programs and armaments by the EU market, based on the criterion of autonomous military competence is being strengthened in an attempt to reduce the dependence on the US armaments market. The financing of the so-called “European Defense Fund” (EDF), which provides funding of 5.5 billion euros per year “to promote the EU's defense capabilities”, plays an important role. As of 2018, the “European Industrial Development Program in Defense” (EDIDP) is underway, which aims to support “the competitiveness and innovation of the EU defense industry”. Accordingly, 13 billion are foreseen by the budget for the modernization of the EU defense industry and the EU member states are asked to allocate 2% of their GDP to EU armaments, in addition to NATO commitments. PESCO is intended to upgrade the so-called “military mobility” for member states “to intervene in crises abroad with the ability to move troops, civilian personnel, materials and equipment freely and quickly”. Emphasis is placed on launching the “Coordinated Annual Defense Assessment (CARD)” with the aim of strengthening defense cooperation between member states. This mechanism is similar to the European Semester, aiming at the control of military plans in order for the Member States to apply uniform criteria for security and defense policy, to address the contradictions between them as much as possible.
The militarization of the EU is deepening. This is also in evidence in the establishment of the “European Peace Facility (EPF)”, a new fund apart from the budget (multi-annual financial framework 2021-2027), which will provide additional funding of € 10.5 billion. This mechanism will finance the actions of the “Common Foreign and Security Policy” (CFSP).
Plans to strengthen the “Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument”, a powerful tool for EU intervention in third countries, are also being promoted.
At the same time, Brexit has characteristically highlighted the sharpening of contradictions within the EU. These contradictions are intended to be used by other forces as well, as evidenced by the US support for Brexit and also the US pursuit on the one hand to promote separate agreements with EU member states, and on the other hand to impose sanctions on monopolies and EU ‘flagship’ countries, such as Germany and France.
All the above prove that the EU is the European imperialist center, which, despite the internal contradictions that are manifested within its ranks, acts drastically in favor of the profitability of its monopolies, the strengthening of the power of all its bourgeoisies - members, and promotes imperialist plans in other regions.
The call for the strengthening of the “Joint European Enhanced Defense Co-operation”, which is supported by the forces of the so-called “Party of the European Left” (PEL), is completely disorienting. It is presented as a so-called “counterweight” to NATO and is even promoted by the “left” GUE/NGL group in the European Parliament with arguments such as “citizens' security” and “cost reduction”. This is because the EU imperialist organization goes hand in hand with NATO, 3/4 of the EU members and all its strongest countries are also NATO members, while the EU imperialist missions abroad are not carried out for “citizens' security”, but for the profits of European monopolies. As will be seen below, the increasing joint military expenditure of EU countries does not in any case reduce the military expenditure of national budgets.
The sophistries about the “democratization” of the EU and the strengthening of the “European solidarity” or “equality” among member states, which are put forward by a series of opportunist forces decrying the so-called “German EU” and promoting the need for a “correction” of the EU, are only pulling the wool over the peoples' eyes. The EU, as a union of the capital, can never be democratic, solidary and equal. There will always be relations of uneven interdependence within it and its reactionism will intensify, both inside, against the workers of its countries, as well as outside the EU, against other peoples.
The KKE took the initiative to establish the “European Communist Initiative”, in which Communist and Workers' Parties from many European countries participate and struggle against the anti-popular policies and the EU-NATO imperialist plans, defend the right of all people to sovereignly choose their path of development, including the right to disengage from the multilevel dependencies on the EU and NATO, as well as the socialist choice.
At this point, we must note in parenthesis that the aim of the CPs based on the world-view of scientific socialism and participating in the “European Communist Initiative” to study European and international developments together, to reach basic joint conclusions and to coordinate their action on the popular problems and the cause of the working class, against imperialist unions, constitutes a timely and necessary step in the direction of forming a contemporary revolutionary strategy. Some European CPs, which have either openly renounced Marxism-Leninism and are communist in name only, or revise laws of the socialist revolution and construction, using the denial of “models”, “dogmatism” and “ideological-political homogenization” as an alibi, could not join this necessary process that can give impetus to the communist movement. This fact may further exacerbate the ideological-political backwardness expressed by these parties' attachment to previous strategic elaborations of the international movement that have been proved wrong by life itself and leads them to huge impasses, exposes them before the working class and makes them at best the “left tail” of social democracy in managing the system.
New political, diplomatic and military alliances and the withdrawal from old ones
The relations of uneven interdependence, which govern the relations of all capitalist states, are formed through a number of international and regional unions, organizations and agreements that also indirectly reflect the correlation of power, while they often become a field of competition. In recent years, in addition to the most well-known organizations (e.g. UN, NATO, EU, OSCE, WTO, G7, G20) led by the US, new ones have emerged, such as BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, led by China, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Eurasian Economic Union, led by Russia.
These unions, which are set up on the basis of monopoly capitalism, despite the different proclamations and “speeds”, have the same class character, are associations of capitalist states and aim to strengthen the power, the economic and geopolitical position of the bourgeoisies participating in them in the division and redistribution of the world.
In conditions where the capitalist crisis and the tendency towards the redistribution of power among the capitalist states are intensifying, some of them are going through serious upheavals. A typical example is the BRICS that was formed in 2009 without South Africa, which joined in 2010, and started as a form of cooperation of the fastest growing economies. The 42% of the world's population and more than 26% of the world's territories are found in the 5 countries that make it up, while these 5 countries account for more than 25% of world GDP. They set up the “Development Bank” in an effort to favor joint investment plans, while they also sought to form common political-economic goals, such as upgrading the exchange rate of their own currencies against the US dollar. Despite these joint efforts, however, we can observe real and major growing contradictions, such as the confrontation between China and India. Under Trump, the US strategy of rapprochement with India and Brazil, seeking to break the cohesion of this organization, became apparent.
Similar situations occur in other organizations as well, such as the Eurasian Economic Union, where in the previous period the Euro-Atlantic competing interests chose Armenia, Belarus and Moldova as “weak links”, using the interests and aspirations of these countries' bourgeoisies and managing, for the time being, to put the breaks on the plans to accelerate regional capitalist unification, prepared by Russia.
Both APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) faced difficulties in the past period, in which growing tensions surrounding the stance towards the claims of China and the US involvement in the region are rising.
There are several regional associations on the American continent. It is characteristic that ALBA (“Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America”), which was an alliance of Cuba with social-democratic governments that had emerged in Latin American countries, was significantly weakened after the predominance of US-oriented governments in Latin America. ALBA was particularly promoted by the Venezuelan government and other similar forces, which had emerged with socialist slogans of constructing “Socialism of the 21st century” and other similar variants of this ideological construct that of course had nothing to do with the scientific laws of socialist revolution and construction. These governments, which had the support of broad working-class and popular strata to a considerable extent, in practice expressed the interests of sections of the bourgeoisie seeking changes in the management of capitalism and their international alliances, thus putting forward “national sovereignty” against imperialism, which they basically identify with the USA, as their basic slogan. These efforts were supported by China and Russia, something that did not go unnoticed by the US and the EU, which used all methods, such as freezing government bank accounts, trade wars, financial sanctions and even organizing or supporting coups, to impede competing plans and cause political upheavals that were convenient for them. Our Party denounced these actions conducted by the Euro-Atlantic imperialists, expressed its solidarity first of all with the CPs in Latin American countries, as well as with the workers and the peoples of the region, who have the right to determine their future without foreign interventions, and at the same time highlighted that only workers' power and no management of capitalism can ensure popular prosperity and sovereignty.
The US aim to continue being at the helm and the emerging new bipolarity with China are leading it to realign its alliances, to review agreements, to restructure international organizations and paralyze others when it cannot use them for its plans. It is characteristic how the USA has used the Organization of American States in recent years as its political weapon in the region.
At the same time, there is a sequence of US withdrawal from various international agreements and organizations. Thus, we can note that the United States in recent years has withdrawn from the following: Initially, in 2002, under George W. Bush, from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, which was signed with the USSR in 1972. In 2017 from UNESCO. In 2018 from the Iran Nuclear Deal, signed in 2015. In 2017, it withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but also froze the talks about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union. In 2018, while exerting pressure claiming that it would withdraw from NAFTA, signed in 1994, it succeeded in replacing it with USMCA. In 2019 from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), signed in 1987. In 2019 from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. In 2020 from the Treaty on Open Skies, signed in 1992. All the data so far show that even the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START III), which was signed in 2010 as a continuation of previous Agreements (1972, 1979, 1993 and so on) and is due to expire in February 2021, will not be renewed, under US responsibility. In addition, it announced that it is considering proceeding to new nuclear tests, in violation of the relevant 1963 International Agreement.
Thus, we can see that various processes of change in the current correlation of power among the capitalist countries, especially those at the “top” of the imperialist “pyramid”, lead to realignments and re-planning of international treaties and organizations.
Powerful interstate organizations have become a cloak for advancing the interests of the US, NATO and other imperialist forces. Within these organizations, confrontations and temporary compromises are taking place among the powerful imperialist forces. When compromises cannot be reached, bargains, threats, and even withdrawals from various agreements follow, as shown by the stance of the United States and other countries, such as Russia, which made constitutional changes to secure the supremacy of national law against international law and regulations, something similar to the stance of the USA.
The USA, in an effort to secure its supremacy in the imperialist system, seeks to tailor the web of international organizations and agreements governing the uneven interdependence of capitalist states to its own interests. It is characteristic that the outgoing US President even sought to modify the present composition of the Group of Seven most powerful capitalist countries (USA, Japan, Canada, France, UK, Italy, Germany), considering that it is “outdated” and that Australia, South Korea, India and Russia should be invited, in an effort to forge a new anti-Chinese alliance. Thus, reaffirming that special emphasis is given to the Indo-Pacific region and the effort to link India to US plans, in an environment of sharpening of China-India relations, together with Japan and Australia.
Three delusions about international organizations and International Law
a) The “US withdrawal” and the “power vacuum” in the world. Various bourgeois and opportunist forces interpret the US withdrawal from a number of international agreements, or the reduction in US military presence in some countries, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, as a “US withdrawal” and a “power vacuum” in the world, filled by other forces. In fact, the “fans” of PAXAMERICANA celebrated the election of the “democratic” Joe Biden to the US presidency, estimating that “finally the USA is making a comeback”.
This is a completely wrong interpretation of reality; the US does not need to make a “comeback” because it never left in the fist place! The USA e.g. in the past period, has strengthened its military presence in Greece, Poland, the Baltic, Southeast Asia, the Balkans, etc., while reduced it elsewhere. Therefore, the readjustment of US goals or of the “links” on which the US places importance, are falsely interpreted as a more general “withdrawal”. Particularly, this does not apply to US political influence. A very typical example in our region is how the “Prespa Agreement” was reached under US intervention, so that another country would join NATO. In addition, the USA was the one to proceed with the new plan for Palestine, which is the final nail in the coffin of the two-state solution.
At the same time, the tendency to change the correlation of power, which is associated with the rise of other imperialist forces, clearly reduces or to some extent complicates US plans, as seen in the example of Syria. However, this is not solely due to the US, but to the reinforcement of other forces promoting their own interests.
In parallel, the US withdrawal from a series of international agreements, mentioned above, has the clear goal of realigning the imperialist alliances in its favor, in an environment where intra-imperialist competition forms a 'quicksand'.
b) Invocation of the UN and International Law. International law, as we knew it when the USSR and other socialist countries existed and was the result of the global correlation of forces between those countries and the capitalist ones, no longer exists. Today it is formed on the basis of the current correlation of power among the imperialist forces. Unfortunately, various CPs continue to invoke e.g. the UN and its Charter, as if we were living 50 years ago. As if, for example, the UN agreement with NATO, according to which the UN entrusts NATO with launching imperialist operations, such as the one that took place in 2011 in Libya, does not exist. As if the UN Charter is not interpreted as they see fit. A typical example is the interpretation of Article 51 (concerning a country's right to self-defense against armed attack), which was invoked by Turkey to invade Syria and currently occupy 10% of Syrian territory. The case of Turkey standing by the side of Azerbaijan in the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict reaches the point of absurdity, as Turkey invokes International Law and the need to restore its “territorial integrity”, while in three other cases (Cyprus, Syria, Iraq) it violated this principle by invading and occupying foreign lands and fragmenting other countries.
Therefore today, international law is becoming more reactionary and is being used by the imperialist forces as they see fit, in the framework of their competition, at the expense of the peoples. We, communists, must struggle against views that obscure this fact.
c)The recycling of the debate on the “democratic architecture” of international organizations. While developments dispel the illusions fostered by various bourgeois and opportunist forces that the “globalization of economies” supposedly leads to a global system in which all problems will be solved “peacefully” by International Law and international organizations, at the same time the quest for solutions of a “democratic reform” of the international organizations does not abate, starting from the UN Security Council which is assimilating e.g. India and other big countries that currently are not its permanent members. Such proposals are presented as a barrier to the actions of the “most aggressive imperialist forces” and as a step towards the predominance of a “multipolar world”.
Such perceptions, regardless of intentions, ideologically embellish international imperialist barbarity, as they consider that it can be changed without the necessary overthrow of capitalism. They reject the Leninist conception of imperialism, detaching economy from politics. According to these forces, imperialism is the political and military action of the most “aggressive” forces against the “national sovereignty” of other countries. They are thus ignoring the fact that it is monopoly competition that leads to military imperialist interventions and wars, and not some “more aggressive forces”. This competition is carried out using all the means at the disposal of each capitalist power in each country and of course it is reflected in the interstate agreements and the various alliances. Within these alliances, the bourgeoisies are ceding a part of the national sovereignty and the sovereign rights of their countries in order to secure their power, always expecting new profits. At the same time, they are using military means, since “war is the continuation of politics by violent means”.
Military power in the world of intra-imperialist contradictions
In conditions of sharpening competition among the capitalist states, the military power of each bourgeoisie is becoming more and more important. The example of Russia and the military intervention in Syria is characteristic. Russia is currently ranked, on the basis of different estimations, between 7th and 12th in the world in terms of economic strength. At the same time, having considerable military power, it was able to spoil the plans of much more economically powerful forces in Syria, where important economic and geopolitical interests of the Russian bourgeoisie are at stake.
We see that global military expenditure in 2019 was estimated at US $ 1.917 trillion, at 2.2% of global GDP, with an increase of 3.6% compared to 2018 and 7.2% compared to 2010, for the third year in a row, mainly due to US and Chinese military expenditure and operations. International arms sales increased by 7.8% in the period 2014-2018, or by 20% compared to the period 2005-2009. Asia and the Middle East were the main importers worldwide.
In 2019, the military expenditure of the USA, which remains the strongest military power in the world, was estimated at US $ 732 billion, followed by China ($ 261 billion), India ($ 71.1 billion), Russia ($ 65.1 billion), Saudi Arabia ($ 61.9 billion), France ($ 50.1 billion), Germany ($ 49.3 billion), UK ($ 48.7 billion), Japan ($ 47.6 billion), and South Korea ($ 43.9 billion). In 2019, total military spending of all 29 NATO member states was $ 1,035 billion.
In the period 2015-2019, the US remained first in arms exports, accounting for 36%, followed by Russia, France, Germany and China.
A key element of the military power of the most powerful military forces is their nuclear weapons. Thus, the nuclear forces continue to modernize their nuclear arsenal, replacing old warheads. The 9 nuclear powers (USA - owing 5800 nuclear warheads, Russia - 6375, UK - 215, France -290, China - 320, India - 150, Pakistan - 160, Israel - 90, North Korea 30-40), have a total of 13,400 nuclear weapons, 90% of which belong to the US and Russia.
In October 2018, the United States announced its withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), signed with the Soviet Union in December 1987. During those years, a large number of missiles with a range of 500-5,000 kilometers was withdrawn. However, the United States withdrew from the INF under the pretext of Russian missiles 9m729 (SSC-8), blaming Russia that since 2016 it had deployed about 100 such missiles. For its part, the Russian side denies the allegations, noting that these specific modernized missiles have a range of less than 500 kilometers and blames the US for installing the “anti-missile shield” in Poland and Romania using Mk-41 launchers, which can be utilized to launch long-range offensive missiles.
The competition is escalating and both countries are announcing changes in their “nuclear” military doctrine, while the Russian authorities are now talking about the construction of hypersonic weapons. At the same time, we are seeing complaints from both sides about new types, such as lasers or climate change weapons, and new spheres of use, such as space.
The United States intends to include China in a nuclear control and containment agreement, considering it a dangerous competitor, while the main nuclear weapon issue under consideration is “first strike” capability.
The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, signed in 1991, was renewed in 2010 and expires in 2021.
An important “tool” in military planning for the most powerful forces are the military bases outside their borders, where the USA appears to have over 700 bases for different uses, all over the world. Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Turkey, China, Japan and India also have bases abroad.
Of course, there are many factors to consider in classifying a military power, which go beyond nuclear weapons. Moreover, a country's military power is not determined solely by its total military expenditure and the arms market. Factors that must be taken into account are the size of the military forces, technological superiority, a strong defense industry, the possibility of training and retraining in the art of war and its new technologies, the constant modernization of military equipment and a high level of know-how that with some types of weapons requires many years of research and great expense, the existence of bases outside the borders in combination with the control of strategically important territories, the ability to gather information, the ability to conduct unorthodox warfare, etc. Clearly military power depends on economic power, although by itself, as can be seen from the above, does not automatically indicate military power.
Estimates of the current ranking among the 20 strongest military countries are as follows: 1) the USA, 2) Russia, 3) China, 4) India, 5) Japan, 6) South Korea, 7) France, 8) the United Kingdom , 9) Egypt, 10) Brazil, 11) Turkey, 12) Italy, 13) Germany, 14) Iran, 15) Pakistan, 16) Indonesia, 17) Saudi Arabia, 18) Israel, 19) Australia, 20) Spain. Based on this assessment, Greece is in 33rd place.
It should be noted that military operations, imperialist missions and wars are in the DNA of capitalism. The pacifist declarations and demands of the kind “to stop the war” are useless and are disorienting for the movement when they are not accompanied by specific measures, such as e.g. from the time of Lenin, the struggle against military spending in bourgeois state budgets, the struggle against foreign bases, the storage of nuclear weapons, the deployment of military forces abroad, and of course when the aim of disengaging countries from imperialist plans and organizations is not pursued. The KKE, e.g., has shown that under conditions of capitalism, the country's participation in NATO, even the purchase of so-called “defense weapons”, such as the anti-aircraft - anti-ballistic systems “Patriot”, can be used for offensive purposes. Such was the case with the deployment of “Patriot” anti-aircraft missiles of the Greek armed forces to Saudi Arabia as part of US offensive plans against Iran, or with the deployment of warships in the Straits of Hormuz, while deliberations took place about sending forces to Mali where French and multi-national forces are fighting, etc. Unfortunately, there are CPs which participate in various “left” governments, such as the Brazilian CP or the Spanish CP, that in the name of “defense” and “patriotism” supported and voted for military spending or the various pretexts that bourgeois governments used for imperialist missions outside their borders, such as in the case of the French CP.
The participation of the Greek bourgeoisie in the rivalries
The bourgeoisie of Greece, like any bourgeois class, strives to upgrade its geopolitical standing. It believes that this can be achieved through modernization and greater adherence to, and a more active role in, the wider plans that are defined by the developed relations between the USA, NATO and the EU in the region. Thus, it actively participates in the corresponding military-political plans. These goals are expressed, despite individual differences, by the bourgeois parties and their governments, both of the social democratic SYRIZA before, and of the liberal ND today.
The Greek bourgeoisie aspires to upgrade its position in the Balkans and the Southeastern Mediterranean, where it has great economic interests. It proceeded, with the SYRIZA government, to the “Prespa Agreement” in order to pave the way for the accession of yet another country to the NATO-EU imperialist organizations, and in fact, maintaining - as our Party estimates - the “seed” of irredentism, which over time can cause new difficulties for the peoples. It strives for cooperation in the exploitation of the energy resources of the Eastern Mediterranean for their channeling to European markets, through the EastMed pipeline, as well as the construction of vertical pipelines in Northern Greece, from which US liquefied gas, which will come into Greece, will be channeled to other European countries. All this is part of Europe's plan to “wean itself” from Russian natural gas.
It seeks to make the country a technological, energy and financial hub in support of Euro-Atlantic plans for the region. The utilization of the Greek shipyards for the needs of the Sixth US fleet, the ports of Alexandroupolis and Kavala for the transport of liquefied natural gas and the investments of powerful US groups in the field of information technology in Attica are all part and parcel of this objective. At the same time, it is trying to manage the US response to China's investment in domestic port infrastructure and in the domain of electrical power transmission.
The SYRIZA government promoted the so-called “Strategic Dialogue Greece - USA”, which formed a framework for economic, political and military issues, with the crucial review and expansion of the Greek-US agreement on the bases.
This planning continued and was completed by the ND government with the agreement with the USA, which includes the further upgrade of the Souda base and the creation of Drones bases in Larissa, helicopters in Stefanovikeio, and the port of Alexandroupolis which is a significantly upgraded link for US plans, while maintaining the base for AWACS flying radar in Aktio, Preveza, and modernizing the base in Araxos for “hosting” nuclear weapons.
In practice, a web of military bases is being created that geographically covers all regions of the country, turning Greece into a base for the implementation of imperialist plans. With the stationing of fighter jets and helicopters, the mooring of aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, NATO and US destroyers, telecommunications-espionage infrastructure, fuel depots, ground forces reception facilities, to encircle Russia and for transport to various war hotspots in connection with the US bases and infrastructure in the Middle East region, in the Balkans and the British bases in Cyprus, the possibility of launching nuclear strikes from Araxos.
The Greek-US Agreement enables the installation and use of US forces in all Greek Army units with multiple consequences for their role and orientation, as an integral part of the NATO army.
In practice, the country's involvement in imperialist plans is deepening and huge risks of our people being targeted have already been created. Russia and Iran warn that if their security is endangered by US bases, they will strike at them with missiles.
The aggression of the Greek bourgeoisie is also evident from the sending of Greek military forces to dozens of imperialist missions abroad.
The attempt to justify the missions of Greek forces abroad under the pretense of adhering to UN, the EU and NATO decisions, is an affront and is supported by all the bourgeois parties, with the ND government and SYRIZA in the lead.
Greece's adherence to NATO and the EU and the strengthening of relations with the United States is a strategic choice of all the bourgeois parties, a key element of the strategic alliance.
The pursuit of the bourgeoisie to create an “axis” with Israel, Egypt, and Cyprus strengthens the country's involvement in conflicts that concern the states of the participating allied groups. Even more so as the state of Israel is an occupying power in Palestine and is killing its people, it is in conflict with Iran, it is occupying and bombing Syrian territories, while Egypt is involved in the war in Libya and has general aspirations in the region. The euphoria that is cultivated is unfounded, while in any case the energy monopolies that will take over the East Med pipeline will benefit, not our people and other peoples.
Our Party condemns the active participation of the Greek bourgeoisie in these rivalries, and stresses that it is involving the country in dangerous developments, in bloody situations against other peoples, while the working class and the popular strata become hostages of imperialist wars. At the same time, our Party has overcome a perception, which it had in the past, but unfortunately remains strong in the ranks of many CPs, which consider their countries' participation in imperialist plans a result of the “submission” of the bourgeois government or some “servant of foreign interests”, a “comprador” section of the country's bourgeoisie, “dragged” by the US imperialists into foreign plans. The KKE estimates that the participation of our country in imperialist plans does not occur for reasons of “being a servant to foreign interests” on the part of the bourgeoisie and its governments, but because the bourgeoisie has interests, which are served through its participation in the imperialist organizations and plans. It is misleading to divide the bourgeoisie into “patriotic” and “comprador”, and the contradictions that may arise within it have nothing to do with patriotism or the ‘willing servant role’ of sections of it, but with the measures and the way the system is managed, and the increase in the profitability of one branch or another and the ruling class as a whole.
At the same time, our Party, in contrast to what takes place in some other countries and some “left” forces or CPs, does not “share” the vision that the bourgeois class and its parties cultivate in the name of “national unity”, the vision of “upgrading” the country's international position. First of all, we believe that there can be no “national unity” with those who exploit the working class, the other popular strata. The interests of the bourgeoisie move in diametrically opposite directions from the interests of the working class and there can be no “national unity” between them.
We explicitly estimate in our Party Program that Greece is “in an intermediate position in the international imperialist system, with strong uneven dependencies on the US and the EU”. However, our Party cannot struggle for the “upgrading” of the country's position in order to reduce dependencies, to strengthen “national unity”, as some other communist forces consider as a first step towards socialism. First of all, we observe from the developments themselves that the “upgrading” of the country's position is accompanied by its ever increasing entanglement in imperialist organizations. But, even in the extreme theoretical case, where a capitalist Greece would leave NATO, the EU, the strategic alliance with the US, dozens of “threads” of its interdependence with the other capitalist countries would remain, due to the internationalization of capitalism, a phenomenon described even by Marx. A Greece where the bourgeoisie will continue to hold the “reins” of the economy and power, which will exploit the Greek people, but also other peoples, from stronger positions than today, in the name of strengthening “sovereignty”, is not at all in line with the goal of the KKE. Our Party believes that the uneven dependence of our country on the USA, the EU, the rest of the capitalist world, can be abolished only when workers' power prevails in our country, and it is struggling towards this goal.
The dangers of war in the Aegean and so-called “co-exploitation”
The relations between the bourgeoisie of Greece and Turkey, where each seeks to upgrade its position, has led to an increase in the risk of war in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.
The bourgeois state of Turkey has risen to be amongst the 20 most powerful capitalist states in the world and in NATO, and seeks to further upgrade its position regionally and globally. It has currently invaded and has occupying troops in 3 countries, maintains military bases in the Balkans, the Middle East, and Africa, is openly involved in the Libyan civil war, as well as in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It seeks and utilizes religious dogma, minority groups, language community, cultural characteristics, etc., in its plans in various regions (the Balkans, Crimea, Central Asia, the Middle East). The Turkish bourgeoisie as a whole aims to upgrade its role, however, there are differentiations within it regarding the means and the necessary international alliances. In the context of the “neo-Ottoman” political “dogma”, which has been chosen as the “vehicle” of its interests by the dominant section of the Turkish bourgeoisie, it appears as a “defender” of the Palestinian people, with the ruling classes of Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Seeking to bargain from positions of power with the US, NATO, the EU, it is developing multifaceted relations with the Russian ruling class and has been equipped with Russian S-400 anti-aircraft/anti-ballistic missile systems, which could bring about significant changes in the military balance of power in the Aegean.
The relations of the bourgeoisie of Greece and Turkey, depending on the situation, are distinguished by the pursuit of cooperation and competition, however the peoples of the two countries do not benefit from these relations.
In recent years, Turkish aggression has escalated with the disputing of the borders in the Aegean and Evros, the questioning of Greek sovereignty of dozens of Aegean islands, the attempt to claim a section of the Greek continental shelf and EEZ, which according to the international Convention on the Law of the Sea, does not belong to it. In this direction, we had the declaration by the Turkish state of the so-called “Blue Homeland”, the signing of the unacceptable Turkish-Libyan pact with the incumbent leadership of Libya, which violates the sovereign rights of Greece, as well as the increase in overflights over Greek islands, military exercises, research or drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, in areas of the Greek continental shelf and in the Greek EEZ, of Cyprus, the arrests of soldiers in Evros, the stirring up of minority issues, the exploitation of immigration and refugees as a “tool” for its interests.
Under these circumstances, US-NATO mediation and arbitration are ‘watching and waiting’ while the Turkish position for co-exploitation, co-management of the Aegean, for the “win-win” solution advocated by the US and NATO, is back on the table. At the same time, the possibility of co-exploitation, co-management of Cypriot sea zones with Turkey is being examined. This co-exploitation does not concern the prosperity of the peoples, but the profitability of the monopolies and “undermines” the future of the two peoples, as well as the environment.
Our Party defends the sovereign rights of the country from the point of view of the working class and the popular strata, as an integral part of the struggle for the overthrow of the power of capital. It has warned workers that under the current circumstances, bourgeois governments and imperialist alliances cannot guarantee these rights, at a time when International Law is being rewritten by the imperialists and the Hague Tribunal is operating within a web of political expediencies. Peace, the security of peoples cannot be guaranteed in this context. The struggle of the two peoples must be directed towards the elimination of the cause which gives rise to contradictions, conflicts, wars, the overthrow of the power of capital and disengagement from imperialist unions.
The KKE, which is firmly oriented towards the development of friendship, internationalist solidarity between the working class and the peoples of the two countries, has established close relations with the CP of Turkey, aiming to strengthen the anti-imperialist struggle of the labor-popular movement in both countries, against the bourgeoisie and Greek-Turkish participation-entanglement in imperialist plans, for the inviolability of borders, for their disengagement from NATO and EU imperialist organizations and alliances, which are a permanent source of agonizing consequences at the expense of the peoples.
The international context and developments, as an aspect of the ideological-political struggle in the international communist movement
In the ranks of the international communist movement (ICM) a fierce ideological-political struggle is taking place over a number of issues. One important aspect of this is the handling of the international situation, of the international developments. It is characteristic that the international capitalist crisis, in which the pandemic also acted as a catalyst, is being interpreted by some parties as a result of the pandemic or a form of management of capitalism, of neo-liberalism, thus whitewashing social democracy and the capitalist mode of production as a whole, which is responsible for such crises.
Many issues for which a struggle is taking place have been presented in the previous pages. However, if we want to briefly summarize, we can say that key issues are the approach towards modern capitalism, the understanding of imperialism, and the laws of socialist revolution and construction.
Opinions prevail on the resilience of capitalism, on possibilities for its “humanization” and “democratization”, the use of its technological achievements for the benefit of the popular forces with the active political intervention of the CPs and at the governmental level. On this ground, positions are reproduced in CPs on the “unity of the left”, of “democratic or patriotic forces”, on “cooperation with left social democracy”, “center-left governments”, “new anti-fascist and anti-neoliberal fronts”, etc.
The erroneous identification of imperialism with the US or with an aggressive policy, or with only a few powerful capitalist countries, without even taking into account the modern reshufflings, can lead to tragicomic images, to consider e.g. Erdoğan, the president of the bourgeois Turkish state as an “anti-imperialist”, or Russia not to be considered an imperialist power, but a weak “periphery” of the world capitalist system, which can also play an “anti-imperialist role”.
These are great ideological-political confusions, which are “divorced” from the Leninist conception of imperialism.
The above are also combined with the confusion over the economic and political laws of socialist revolution and communist society, focusing on the interpretation of socialist-communist construction in the 20th century, the causes of the counter-revolutionary overthrow. In a number of CPs, the opportunist position is formulated that in China “socialism is being constructed with Chinese characteristics”, in a measured compromise with capital, which together with Russia, plays positive role in international developments. This approach, which is a detachment of politics from the economy, is also directly opposed to the Leninist conception of imperialism. This is because imperialism is monopoly capitalism. There can be no “peaceful” or “non-aggressive” imperialism, just as there can be no “philanthropic” monopolies. Whatever positive positions can be taken by one or another powerful capitalist state, such as Russia and China, on one or another international issue, e.g. for adherence to the principles of International Law, or against the revision of the outcome of World War II, is solely due to its serving its own interests, taking advantage of its long-standing diplomatic relations from the period of its effort at socialist construction, which are being continued to some extent, in order to maintain, strengthen or establish alliances. In any case, we can not deviate from this reality and recycle erroneous assessments that the CPSU had and which were reproduced by the international communist movement in the past, of “peaceful coexistence and rivalry” under conditions of imperialism and other utopian unsubstantiated notions of “security systems”.
For our Party, the study of socialist construction in the USSR is an important achievement – a base, for the above issues as well, including our critical approach to the decisions of the 19th and 20th congress and the opportunistic turn that followed. However, most of the CPs, which have not conducted such relevant studies, are very confused about the character of today's China, Russia, and other states, which are part of the imperialist system. This can have tragic consequences for their stance on the issue of war in the age of imperialism, where the communist movement, maintaining a stable front against the imperialist centers of the US, NATO, EU, should not be dragged to the side of any imperialist power, but must consistently defend the class interests of the working class in conflict with the bourgeoisie, not to choose a “foreign flag” under the pressure of petty bourgeois forces, but also nationalist pressures on the working class.
Communists must strengthen the front, both against the conception of cosmopolitanism, which takes a non-class approach towards the international alliances of the bourgeoisie (EU, NATO, BRICS, etc.), as well as against nationalism, the “racial purity of the nation and culture” and other racist perceptions, which are developed against refugees and immigrants.
Each CP has the responsibility to study the international developments on the basis of the Marxist-Leninist worldview. To draw conclusions and inform the workers in its country and internationally. To maintain a front against the bourgeois and opportunist forces on international issues or what are labeled as “national issues”. To coordinate its action with the other communist and workers' parties and to strive to chart a modern revolutionary course within the international communist movement, which corresponds to the character of our time, a time of transition from capitalism to socialism.
member of the CC of KKE,
responsible for the international section of the CC
 V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 27, p.424
 People's Daily, http://russian.people.com.cn/n3/2019/0306/c31518-9553049.html
 Li Keqiang, “Report on the government’s work” at National People's Congress– Source: http://russian.people.com.cn/n3/2020/0605/c95181-9697762.html
 There is a huge increase e.g. in private medical companies taking advantage of the need of employees for contemporary health benefits. From 2005 to 2016 the number of beds in private clinics increased from 6% to 22%. Source: https://carnegie.ru/commentary/81082
 See: The international role of China: http://inter.kke.gr/en/articles/The-International-role-of-China/
 V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, vol.44, p. 310 9th All-Russian Congress of Soviets
 For the economic background of the contradictions, see the article: “In the face of the new economic crisis: green new deal or socialism?”, Makis Papadopoulos, Kommounistiki Epitheorisi issue 4-5 / 2020
 European Parliament resolution of 15th January 2020 on the implementation of the Common Security and Defense Policy - annual report.
 PESCO was established in December 2017 with the participation of 25 EU Member States including Greece.
 The “European Intervention Initiative” was announced by France in June 2018 and involves France, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Estonia, Portugal, Spain, Belgium and Britain.
 These are 16 missions, of which 6 are military. Its is deployed, among others, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq, Ukraine, Libya, Somalia, Mali, Kosovo, Niger, Georgia, Central African Republic.
 The “European Semester” of the EU is a mechanism for monitoring the financial situation of the member sates and promoting reactionary restructuring and anti-labor measures.
 See the amendment proposal on the EU budget for 2021 by Younous Omarjee and Dimitris Papadimoulis, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group, 4/11/2020, A9-0206 / 2020.
 The “European Communist Initiative” includes 30 Communist and Workers' parties, which have agreed on a coherent ideological-political framework and seek to coordinate their struggle. However, even within the ECI, there is ideological and organizational heterogeneity. There are also ideological and political issues and confusions, which are based on the historical course and the formation of many CPs, the difficulties faced by many parties in developing a revolutionary strategy and its linking to the current class struggle under unfavorable non-revolutionary conditions, and in connecting their organized forces with the working class and its movement.
 The Shanghai Cooperation Organization initially included China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. It was later joined by India and Pakistan. Iran, Mongolia, Belarus, and Afghanistan are observer states.
 Apart from Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus and Tajikistan also participate in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). The participating countries are bound to assist in the defense of whichever of these countries is under foreign military attack. For this reason, they have set up “rapid reaction forces”.
 In addition to Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus also participate in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), while Moldova and Uzbekistan are observer states. It seeks to regulate a number of customs cooperation issues on the basis of the 4 “freedoms” (goods, services, capital, labor).
 APEC - Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, USA and Vietnam.
 ASEAN - Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Brunei, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines.
 Such as MERCOSUR, UNASUR, PROSUR, CELAC, PETROCARIBE, CARICOM, ALBA, OAS.
 Today, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and some smaller Caribbean island states are still participating in ALBA, while Honduras, Ecuador and Bolivia withdrew in 2010, 2018 and 2018 respectively.
 Organization of American States (OAS): Transnational union founded in 1948, after WW II, led by the United States from the beginning. During the Cold War, it played the role of a transnational anti-communist cooperation against the CPs and the workers'-people's movements, especially in Latin America. Using the pretext of human rights violations, it is currently leading the sanctions and measures against Cuba and Venezuela, without ruling out military intervention. Today it consists of 35 member states, i.e. almost all the states of the continent, except Cuba, Venezuela and some Caribbean island states.
 United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Donald Trump had threatened that the US would withdraw from NAFTA if radical changes were not made. In a tweet, however, he welcomed “the new fantastic trade deal” between the United States, Canada and Mexico.
 The Treaty on Open Skies provided for the possibility of air surveillance and recording of the “enemy” ground installations and military forces. It was being prepared for years by the United States, which, since the 1950s, has been calling on the USSR to accept a similar agreement. For its part, the USSR described the proposal as “legal espionage”and refused to consent. The Treaty was signed after the overthrow of socialism in 1992, and took 9 years to be ratified by the Russian Parliament. 34 countries participate in it.
 See article by Marina Lavranou: “International Law of the Sea tailored to intra-imperialist contradictions”, Kommounistiki Epitheorisi 4-5 / 2020
 Source: GLOBAL FIREPOWER - https://www.globalfirepower.com/countries-listing.asp
 State in West Africa in which a civil war is taking place with the participation of French military forces and from which, France imports uranium for its nuclear power stations
 Program of the KKE, 19th Congress of the KKE, 2013, http://inter.kke.gr/en/articles/Programme-of-the-KKE/