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The strategy that serves monopolies interests imposes the harsh exploitation of the working class and leads to imperialist wars
Interview of Giorgos Marinos Marinos, member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the KKE and MP of the party with Athens News Agency and the journalist George Milionis.
At this time, developments of great strategic importance are taking place in the global arena, such as the AUKUS agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, which caused a chain reaction.
Indeed, in all geographical regions there are flashpoints in the Indo-Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, the Persian Gulf, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Black Sea. The competition between the US, the EU, China, Russia and their alliances is in progress. The situation is characterized by increased mobility and the involvement of dozens of states. We underline the competition between the US and China. These two powerful capitalist states compete for economic supremacy for the benefit of their business groups. This confrontation embraces many fields. Today there is a fierce competition over energy, the so-called “green” and “digital economy”, artificial intelligence, modern warfare systems, while at the same time they seek areas of cooperation. China, which has higher economic growth rates, is challenging US primacy, expanding, promoting the “new Silk Road”, i.e. routes for business interests in all continents, controlling strategic infrastructures in many countries.
The focus on the Indo-Pacific is not accidental. This region produces 60% of the world's GDP, includes strategic routes for the transport of goods, energy and is estimated to account for 70% of energy demand in the coming years. On this basis, under the Obama presidency, the transfer of naval and air military forces to the Pacific was accelerated and continued under Trump and Biden. Recently, US military forces withdrew from Afghanistan after the devastating 20-year war and redeployed to the Indo-Pacific region. The Taiwan Strait is a crossroad for US, British and Chinese forces. The NATO Strategy 2030 reinforces the orientation towards China and in this direction, it elaborates its “strategic concept” in the coming years.
There are ongoing disputes over maritime zones in the South and East China Sea; the Korean Peninsula is also an area that will play a key role in developments in the coming period. Over the past years, cooperation between the United States, India, Japan and Australia has been reinforced in the form of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), and it is on this ground that the AUKUS agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States has been established, which provides for economic, technological, political and military cooperation between these states in competition with China, with the possibility of other states joining in. A qualitative element of the AUKUS agreement is the equipment of Australia with US nuclear-powered submarines.
This development provoked the reaction of France.
Indeed, because France has interests in the region and lost a major contract with Australia worth tens of billions of dollars for the supply of 12 conventional submarines. At the same time, the EU, which maintains strong economic relations with China and constitutes the largest investor in the Indo-Pacific region, has expressed its discontent with the US choices, and insists on developing economic relations with China. As a result, the relations with the US and the course of the so-called “transatlantic cooperation” are affected. It is expected that the AUKUS agreement will trigger more targeted moves by China and Russia in their bilateral cooperation and alliances. It will lead to an escalation of imperialist competition with an international impact, and Greece, which is involved in NATO planning, in entangled in this “vicious circle”.
In conclusion, we can say that the monopolies, which are at the core of the capitalist system, are exploiting the working class and accumulating capital, are seeking new areas of expansion, in order to increase their profitability, control natural resources, markets, regions of strategic importance. These interests are represented by the bourgeois states and this competition is dangerous for the peoples, it even creates the conditions for generalized wars.
In the very same period we have the conclusion of the strategic partnership agreement between Greece and France, which, as the Prime Minister of the country pointed out, is something deeper than an agreement for the strengthening of the Navy.
Exactly. The AUKUS Agreement accelerated developments and influenced the signing of the Greek-French Agreement, which the government is promoting, seeking to conceal its essence and consequences. Because, this agreement does not serve the interests of the people and the defense needs of the country, but the pursuits of the French and Greek bourgeoisie in the competition in the region of East Mediterranean and the wider region.
It recognizes the role of and supports NATO's planning for the strengthening of its political-military presence in the East Mediterranean and around the globe. It supports the EU's pursuit to promote so-called “military autonomy” – in cooperation with NATO – in order to upgrade its role in competition with Russia and China, as well as the United States, with the creation of European Army. It provides for the establishment of French military bases in Greece, adopts the NATO pretexts used in the wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, which devastated the peoples. It is preparing the dispatch of Greek military forces in the Sahel of Africa, to assist the French troops, which are already fighting there.
Political controversy has focused on the article that provides for the so-called “assistance and aid”, in the event of a military attack on the territory of the two states, Greece and France. Confusions are deliberately fostered regarding a French intervention in case of a Greek-Turkish conflict; a dangerous atmosphere of war hysteria is being created. But is that the case? Can the people anticipate French assistance to ensure the country's territorial integrity? This view has been refuted by a number of historical facts. What determines the attitude of the so-called “protectors” is their interests. France, as a strong imperialist power, maintains military bases abroad, is responsible for dozens of wars, led the NATO operation for the dissolution of Libya, operates today in Mali, in many parts of Africa. Like other powerful imperialist states, it opposes and cooperates with Turkey, develops economic activities, bargains; our people cannot use it as a guard of the country's sovereignty and sovereign rights. These interventions complicate the problems and sharpen the contradictions in the region.
The experience from the role of the US, NATO and the EU is painful. They seek to keep Turkey in the “western block”, to weaken its relations with Russia, or even to use the Turkish army in NATO missions, to sell weapons systems. These facts fuel the aggression of the Turkish ruling class, and it is known that all these years the Euro-Atlantic forces tolerate the questioning of the sovereignty of the Greek islands, the occupation in Cyprus and promote the division of the island. The Greece-France “defense assistance” agreement will eventually lead to the deployment of Greek military forces in Mali, Africa, in the Sahel region in general, which are considered French interests and the people must react decisively.
The agreement also includes the purchase of French frigates. Is it not necessary for the defense of the country?
The ND government and other political forces are promoting the purchase of the Belharra frigates and Rafale fighters as a "panacea" and are posing a false dilemma. They say: "military equipment or will the country remain unprotected?". This is merely shadow boxing, as the main question is whom do the armaments serve, the people and the defense of the country or the plans of NATO, as they did all these years?
The working class, the pensioners, the farmers and tradesmen who struggle to make ends meet are faced with very acute problems, they suffer. They are burdened with heavy taxes, they pay more than 4 billion euros a year for NATO needs. However, Greek warships are part of the Euro-Atlantic plans and patrol far from the Greek borders, up to the Straits of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. Patriot missile artillery was sent to Saudi Arabia against Iran, to replace American Patriots, which were redeployed in the Indo-Pacific. F-16 fighters are used in a NATO mission for patrols in order to guard the airspace of Albania, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro against Russia. Hundreds of millions of euros were spent, military equipment was used and the lives of Greek soldiers were endangered, in the war in Afghanistan, on the side of the USA, but also in other Euro-Atlantic missions, under the responsibility of all governments.
The KKE presented its clear and substantiated positions and voted against the Greek-French agreement in Parliament. KINAL voted in favor, together with ND. SYRIZA claimed that the Greek-French agreement is “strategically correct” exonerating the government's responsibilities. SYRIZA’s vote against the agreement in parliament is only half story. Their objections to the deployment of Greek troops in the Sahel of Africa are misleading, because at the same time they provocatively claimed that they agree with this mission, under the “umbrella” of the EU.
At the same time, the extension of the Greece-US Agreement was signed.
This is a very negative and dangerous development. The ND government, continuing the “strategic dialogue” with the US which was launched by SYRIZA, upgraded the Souda base and established US military bases in Larissa, Stefanovikio, Alexandroupolis, which play a special role in NATO's plans to encircle Russia as well as for other dangerous missions. Today, has extended the agreement, which will be effective for 5 years and transforms it into an indefinite one. It also establishes the the installation of other military bases and infrastructure, such as Litochoro, the deployment of American military forces in Greek units, etc. The country is a launchpad for imperialist wars and a target of retaliation, as Russia and Iran have warned. This is a crucial issue.
Τhe allegation that this agreement “shields the country's security against Turkish aggression” has no basis. The relations between Greece and US have not started today, the US military bases have been operating for many years in Greece. The agreement that was renewed yesterday was signed in 1990 but during this period the Greek-Turkish relations have sharpened; we experienced crises, such as in Imia, in 1996. NATO, the plans of which are served by the agreement does not recognize borders and sovereign rights in the Aegean. The government is concealing these facts and trying to mislead the people. And this applies also for the statement of the US Secretary of State Α. Blinken. A similar statement was made by the former US Secretary of State, Pompeo in 2019, however, the dangerous events in Greek-Turkish relations in 2020, for instance, dispel the myths of the supporters of the US military bases in Greece.
The infamous “geostrategic upgrade” of the interests of the Greek economic groups and the claim of a share of the loot from interventions against other peoples, creates enormous dangers for our people. In these conditions, the strengthening of the struggle against NATO and the EU is of great importance; for the disengagement of Greece from the imperialist plans, the return of Greek military forces from abroad, the dismantling of the American bases. The Greek armed forces have nothing to do in the Persian Gulf, Africa, in any mission abroad.
Turkey, without losing sight of the Aegean, Cyprus and the wider Eastern Mediterranean region, is signing agreements with Ukraine and at the same time considering more "joint steps" with Russia.
Turkey is a member of NATO, it maintains strategic relations with the US and the EU and bargains, utilizing its economic-military power, its geographical position, the maintenance of military forces in Syria, Iraq, Libya, the occupation of Cyprus. It tries to create a precedence in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean. The Turkish bourgeoisie plays a double game; it maintains strong relations with Russia, is equipped with modern weapons, such as the S-400 missile system, builds a nuclear plant at Akkuyu, prepares new orders for modern Russian weapons. At the same time, it is confronting Russia in Ukraine, Syria and other regions, a fact that the US and the EU seek to exploit in order to create a rupture in Russian-Turkish relations. This is how the imperialist system works, i.e. with predatory alliances, compromises, realignment of axes and anti-axes.
What is the impact of this situation on Greek-Turkish relations, in connection with the new round of exploratory contacts?
Important conclusions can be drawn from all this. The country's involvement in imperialist alliances and plans all these years, the presence of foreign military bases, not only do not protect the country and the people, as the Greek governments claim, but add new elements and render the situation in the region even more dangerous. Greek-Turkish relations are deteriorating. The competition between the Greek and Turkish bourgeoisie manifests itself in many forms. The Turkish claims are reinforced by questioning the sovereignty of Greek islands and their rights in the continental shelf as well as the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), demanding their demilitarization, with the interventions in Thrace, etc.
This situation involves risks. The same applies for the Cyprus issue. The Turkish government and the Turkish Cypriot side have partially opened the fenced-off city of Famagusta (Varosha). At the same time it is sought to arrive at a compromise between a Bi-Zonal Bicommunal Federation (two constituent states), which is a form of confederation, and a vertical division in two states.
The 63rd round of the exploratory talks between Greece and Turkey took place in this framework. It should be noted that the Turkish side puts forward all its claims and therefore the position of the Greek government that only the issues of the continental shelf and the EEZ are on the table is baseless.
In the previous period, even the issue of territorial waters, i.e. sovereignty, had been discussed. In our opinion, through this process, through NATO interventions in the name of crisis prevention and the general aspirations of the US and the EU the way is paved for a “central compromise”, for the joint exploitation in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, in favour of large monopolies groups in the field of energy, that will trigger a new round of confrontations. The positions of the KKE that reject any change of the borders and call for the implementation of the agreements that define them is of great importance.
As far as our region is concerned, there is tension between Serbia and Kosovo, regarding the free movement of all people between Serbia and Kosovo, while despite the temporary compromise, it seems that the contradictions in the region remain.
The Euro-Atlantic intervention in the 1990s, with Germany playing a leading role, the US-NATO war in 1999 and the dissolution of Yugoslavia opened Pandora’s box and it seems that the change of borders is not over. Relations between the protectorate of Kosovo and Serbia are going through dangerous phases of intensification and are triggered by the US and EU pursuit of land exchanges in the context of the “Euro-Atlantic integration of the Western Balkans”, which – amidst contradictions – seeks to integrate countries in the EU and NATO for control of the region.
Large US-NATO military bases have already been set up in Kosovo, Albania, and the Balkans in general – in the West and East – on the “sides” of Russia, serving as a broader plan for developments in the Black Sea, where the Ukraine-Russia conflict is raging. In practice, it turned out that the Prespa Agreement, signed by SYRIZA, did not serve security and peace in the region, but the accession of Northern Macedonia to NATO. The pursuit of “Greater Albania” remains. The situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is very crucial, the issue of the secession of the Republika Srpska has been raised. In short, this region is a crossroads of strong geostrategic interests, with both Russia and China intervening in opposition to US and EU plans. The contradictions are becoming more and more complicated, while the Greek governments regard the Balkans as a field for investment and profitability of economic groups and are entangled in the Euro-Atlantic plans.
All congresses of the KKE, and of course the 21st that took place in June, have given emphasis on the constant study of international developments, which they never isolated from internal developments. In the midst of these developments, what is, in your opinion, the main issue that is emerging? What does the KKE propose to the Greek people as a direction for the course of the country?
It is well known that domestic and foreign policy are inextricably linked. It goes without saying that the strategy, which serves the interests of the monopolies and imposes the harsh exploitation of the working class, cannot respect the rights of other peoples. The “geostrategic upgrade” of the interests of the bourgeoisie concerns both the national and the international arena. The barbaric character of the system we live in, the outdated historical boundaries of capitalism, emerge from all aspects. The people pay dearly for the capitalist crises and the profit-driven development. They are called to accept high unemployment, underemployment and poverty, the degraded education for their children, the tragic shortages in the commercialized public health-care system, low wages and pensions, the threat of imperialist war as fatal.
In these conditions, the joint struggle of broad workers' and people's forces with the KKE is of great importance. The KKE plays a leading role in the workers’ and people’s struggle, it defends the rights of the working class, the poor farmers and tradesmen, the youth. It struggles against the policies of the government and all bourgeois governments and parties, capital and its power, the imperialist unions. In this struggle, a great social alliance will be built and strengthened, which will give impetus to the overthrow of capitalist barbarism. In this process the real way out for the working class, the popular strata, i.e. the building of the new socialist society will serve as a beacon. With solid foundations. Power in the hands of the people, social ownership of the means of production, economic tools, with central scientific planning, with the criterion of the satisfaction of the people’s needs. In these conditions, with the disengagement from NATO and the EU, the needs of the people can be met, the peaceful course of the country can be ensured, and mutually beneficial relations with other states and peoples can be developed.