Certain events lead to more than just a new political phase. The collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. occupation of Iraq, or Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began at the end of February, are events of such magnitude that they usher in long-term historical epochs or accelerate their dynamics. It is therefore currently very important to analyze the daily political developments in such a way that we become aware of their historical dimensions and strategic consequences. On this basis, we as members, supporters, or sympathizers of the democratic forces of our country can correctly recognize which answers these social forces must find to the current political conditions, in order to protect the interests of women, the youth, working people and the peoples of the world.
A Third World War has been raging in the world for more than 30 years. Its centre is neither the former Soviet republics nor the countries of the Far East. For three decades now, the peoples of the Middle East have been feeling most acutely the massive dislocations caused by the ideological-organizational crisis of capitalist modernity. This includes the disintegration of states, the displacement of millions, the destruction of the natural environment and the genocide against the Kurdish people. Globally, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, attacks on the most basic human values of freedom, democracy, equality and peace have intensified many times over.
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the political, media, economic and scientific representatives of capitalist modernity have been using all these terms – world war, genocide, defence of freedom – very actively. Every day there is talk about the danger of an “approaching Third World War”, genocide against the population of Ukraine and the defence of freedom against Putin’s regime. As important as it is for the understanding of our historical epoch to use these central terms, it will become apparent in the further course of this analysis that democratic forces have a great interest in using them in a more analytically sharp, self-determined and less propagandistic way – and thus to protect themselves from the dangerous consequences of the distraction and distortion campaigns of state-capitalist mouthpieces like the BBC, CNN or the Tagesschau.
The central actors of the Third World War and their strategies
In the last analysis “Assessment of the Current Political Situation: The Third World War and its Impact on Kurdistan”, important observations were made about the basic features of the Third World War and the multipolar world order that is becoming increasingly evident. Against the background of these observations, we can turn to the current policies of the central actors of capitalist modernity: the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia, Germany, and China, although for reasons of space we will discuss only three of them in more detail here. It is these state-capitalist powers that are today competing for the best positions in the multipolar world order, using a wide variety of means – all of which deliberately rely on the destruction of entire countries such as Ukraine or Iraq, the destruction and displacement of entire societies as in Kurdistan or Syria, and the squandering of societal resources on war.
Possibly the quietest, but all the more effective, of these powers is undoubtedly Great Britain. For centuries, the British state has pursued a claim to world power, which it was largely able to assert for itself in practice until 1945. In the course of this, it was able to gather extensive relationships, experience and knowledge in all regions of the world. Since Brexit, it considers itself once again in a better position to implement its strategy of “Global Britain in a Competitive Age” (1) aggressively and in a variety of ways. The strategy that serves this purpose has been the same for centuries and can currently be observed very well in continental Europe: “divide and rule”.
In his book “The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives,” published in 1997, the world-renowned geo-strategist and former U.S. national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski very impressively demonstrates how central the division of Eurasia is to the pursuit of a global claim to power. A united Eurasia, i.e., a Europe peacefully coexisting with Russia and Asia, economically cooperating with each other, and culturally intertwined, would simply not be controllable from the outside. For it would have enough land, natural resources, and people to represent its interests in a self-determined manner. Brzezinski also names the regions of Eurasia that are particularly well suited for dividing the vast continent: Georgia, Korea… and Ukraine.
According to British ministers’ own admissions, since 2014 the country has trained over 20,000 Ukrainian soldiers on modern NATO weapons systems and supplied thousands of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles. Recently, modern multiple rocket launchers were also added. This extensive support prompted the current Ukrainian president to publicly thank his British partners (2). Prime Minister Johnson described the war raging since late February as “Ukraine’s finest hour,” (3) clearly expressing the British state’s satisfaction with Ukraine´s destruction and the ever-deepening rift between Europe and Russia. The BBC, which is very deliberately employed as a foreign policy tool by the UK (4), has been offering anybody interested a 24-hour propaganda barrage of stories about Ukrainian war heroes, a civilian population unconditionally standing behind their state, and Putin, who has supposedly completely unexpectedly mutated into a war criminal, since the 24th of February.
The British policy of massive arms deliveries, close political-military consultation, media war propaganda and diplomatic courting of the Ukrainian government has undeniably been very effective so far and is enabling Ukraine to wage a long-term war against Russia. But it is not right. Anyone who knew about the situation of Ukraine before the 24th of February 2022, knows very well how little Ukrainian society thinks of the state, the bureaucracy, and the politicians in their country. Since 2014, the Ukrainian army has included a considerable number of openly fascist soldiers, which is also true of the state bureaucracy and its representatives in the government. It is not without reason that it is commonplace for them to honour Ukrainian collaborators with German fascism (5). Only recently, eleven opposition parties in the country were simply banned (6).
The British state is one of the biggest supporters of these dangerous developments, as the Zelenskyy regime willingly offers to sacrifice the population and wealth of Ukraine in exchange for the British “divide and rule” policy which makes the peaceful coexistence of Europe´s societies impossible. The British state will continue to divide and rule in other parts of the world as well. With the help of the AUCUS pact in Far Asia, together with Erdoğan and the Barzanî clan in the Middle East, alongside the Azerbaijani regime in the Caucasus, and by supporting sometimes openly fascist governments like those of Poland and Ukraine in Europe.
It is not surprising that Russia has invaded Ukraine, nor do we need to puzzle much over the Russian state’s motives for this momentous decision. Anyone who has carefully followed, for example, Putin’s speech in 2007 at the Munich Security Conference (7) or the roughly four-hour documentary of numerous interviews Oliver Stone conducted with Putin in 2017 (8) can see very clearly what the Russian state is after in the Ukraine war: a prominent place in the multipolar world order. In his 2007 speech, Putin complained that Russia has willingly opened its doors to international capital and has claimed little of the profit opportunities in other parts of this world for itself, but that the West simply does not get enough. Since 2007 at the latest, the highest representative of the Russian state has repeated at practically every opportunity that Russia demands a respectable place among the multipolar state power centers of this world. Accordingly, Russia’s concern today in Ukraine is neither genocide of the Ukrainian population nor the promotion of freedom, democracy, and equality.
Whether the Russian state can enforce its demands against the NATO-trained and equipped alliance of the Ukrainian army, fascist groups, and international mercenaries is quite questionable. Russia’s central problem is that it has nothing fundamentally new to offer during a time of ideological-organizational crisis of capitalist modernity. On the basis of a highly centralized state, pronounced nationalism and military strength, the country may be able to maintain its place among the world’s power poles, but in this way, it can contribute practically nothing to solving the immense problems of humanity.
Russia has already paid an enormous price for the war in Ukraine. Even if it achieves its goal of Ukraine becoming politically neutral, militarily weak, and economically dependent between Moscow and the West, the enormous political and economic pressure from NATO countries and their allies, combined with heavy military losses in Ukraine, will inevitably force Russia to review its policy. It is not unlikely that the Russian state will seek revenge in other parts of the world for its humiliation in Ukraine. Accordingly, we will have to pay close attention in the near future to Moscow’s role in the context of tensions in the Balkans, the Caucasus, and the Middle East.
In Germany, domestic contradictions have come to light so openly in the course of the Ukraine war that we can speak of a kind of state crisis. The historically old conflict between Eurasian-oriented German capital, which is politically represented in particular by parts of the SPD, but also by pro-Merkel circles in the CDU, and transatlantic rooted German capital factions has literally exploded with the new government of SPD, Greens and FDP. Not only have strategic energy projects such as Nord Stream 2 been halted and economic relations with Russia massively curtailed, but the German state is now also participating in the shattering of peace in the western part of Eurasia with arms deliveries and extensive diplomatic-media support.
This conflict was at first a political one when, at the beginning of the new government, a public dispute broke out between the SPD-controlled Chancellery and the Green Party Foreign Ministry over who would determine the foreign policy of the future government. Particularly because of Green political cadres like Baerbock, Hofreiter, Nouripour, and Habeck, Germany’s current political leadership can be described as a war government. In fascists like Erdoğan, autocrats like the Qatari ruling house, Zelenskyy or NATO puppets like the Taiwanese leadership, the Green leadership thinks it has recognized promising partners for Germany.
State representatives who support the interests of Eurasian-oriented German capital, e.g. Gerhard Schröder, Sigmar Gabriel, Walter Steinmeier or Angela Merkel, are pilloried in unison in the media and politically. Germany’s internal contradictions are so deep that the country’s competing state and capital factions no longer shy away from humiliating active and former state cadres and practically declaring them outlaws. This shows how severe the political crisis of the German state is today.
What is not new is the panicked and aggressive reaction of the German media, scientific elite, and political decision-makers against any opposition to Germany’s involvement in a war on European soil. The ideas of democratically-minded German artists and intellectuals who wrote a critical open letter were declared unworldly and dangerous, and the marginal protests of Germany’s anti-war movement in the context of the Easter marches were slandered with a media campaign lasting several days. The German Chancellor Olaf Scholz even called the protesters’ demands “cynical” and “out of touch with the times.” (9) Such intolerant, militaristic, and fearful attitudes reveal the true face of the “new German responsibility” today.
At present, the NATO transatlantic faction among the German political, military, and economic elite have undoubtedly taken the helm in the state and will continue to aggressively insist on the assertion of their interests in the near future. They are well aware of how risky the destruction of the Eurasian peace is and how much social protest will stir in Germany against the immediate consequences of this policy – e.g. price increases, strengthening of fascist forces, dismantling of democracy and war. Represented by the de facto, Green-led federal government, the German state apparatus will therefore in the future increasingly try to delegitimize or silence political dissent, justify economic pressure on the country’s people with allegedly inevitable consequences of wars. Enacting an undemocratic militaristic foreign policy by fostering the fear reflexes of the German people.
As different as the starting positions of the various state actors of capitalist modernity may be, they all make use of certain tools to assert themselves in the Third World War (which has been going on for more than 30 years), to become an independent pole of power in the multipolar world. British government representatives in particular speak very openly about this and justify the use of military force, economic sanctions and media campaigns by claiming to be defending freedom and democracy against the autocracies of the world, which ultimately means above all Russia and China. A media and political game with people’s fears of a pandemic can be observed practically every day since the start of the Corona pandemic in early 2020. Yesterday it was Corona, today it’s monkeypox, and tomorrow it could be another disease that enables legally regulated social isolation and the restriction of democratic rights, while the social climate of fear of one’s fellow human beings apparently leaves people no other option than to throw themselves into the supposedly protective arms of the paternalistic state and take refuge in the digital world of Netflix, Meta and Co.
Military, economic, media and biological means are thus part of the comprehensive repertoire with which the actors of capitalist modernity today fight each other in the context of the Third World War and at the same time expose the societies, peoples, and individuals of this world to non-stop attacks. These state actors are well aware of the nature of the Third World War, which differs significantly from the first two world wars, and have adjusted to its protracted nature and complexity. The more the democratic forces of this world also do so, the sooner they will be able to put an end to this war, which is completely senseless from the point of view of humanity, and get ready to work on the real agenda of the world’s peoples, women, youth and working people.
The genocide in the Middle East
As a result of the deepening crisis of capitalist modernity, tensions in the Middle East are also gaining momentum. Both the war in Ukraine and the wars in the Middle East are the result of competition among state actors for their place in the multipolar world order and the ideological-organizational crisis of capitalist modernity. Accordingly, they are closely interrelated. Since the start of the war in Ukraine at the end of February, numerous conflicts in the Middle East have clearly intensified. Therefore, the current developments are somewhat similar to those in 2014, when, a few months after the Russian occupation of Crimea, the Middle East was thrown into complete chaos by the offensive of the Islamic State (IS).
The Turkish state is currently taking advantage of the conflicts between international powers and the tense situation of NATO to systemically impose the most important goal of its neo-Ottoman policy in the short to medium term: the annexation of North Syria and South Kurdistan. This would allow Turkey to (re)establish nation-state borders, which the Turkish national bourgeoisie had set as a goal 100 years ago but was unable to achieve due to pressure from France and Britain. The enforcement of an occupation zone 30 kilometers deep and about 1400 kilometers long along its southern border would allow the Turkish state to destabilize Syria and Iraq on such a massive scale that the annexation of the remaining parts in accordance with the Misak-ı Milli [National Pact] should no longer pose any major difficulties. So much for the plan.
However, since concrete implementation is currently failing in the South Kurdish regions of Zap, Avaşîn and Metîna due to resistance from the People’s and Women’s Defense Units (HPG and YJA-Star), the Turkish AKP-MHP regime is looking for supposedly easier targets in North Syria. If Turkey really succeeds in occupying areas such as Şehba and Minbic, Aleppo would be just a stone’s throw away. This would successfully establish the western end of the southern border after the Misak-ı Milli. The publicly expressed approval of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) shows that this is a policy of the Turkish state and not of an individual government or dictator like Erdoğan.
From the point of view of NATO, especially the US, the UK, and Germany, the Misak-ı-Milli goal certainly appears worthy of support, as it would decisively push back Iranian influence in the region. At the same time, Brussels, Washington, London, and Berlin seem impatient to use Turkey to transport Syrian and Iraqi gas and oil to Europe, thereby facilitating Russia’s economic isolation. The recent rapprochement between Israel and Turkey clearly shows that Jerusalem is also sympathetic to Turkish ambitions. It is important not to forget that the Turkish state pursues a strongly externally determined policy, particularly because of its economic and military dependence on NATO. The Turkish bourgeoisie may dream of a new Ottoman Empire and, in the face of ever new occupation operations, may convince itself that it can actually achieve this, but both its ideological roots in the capitals of Western Europe and its current economic-military condition make it seem more like a dog gone wild, kept tightly on a leash by NATO, but also by Russia and China. Foreign policy motivations aside, the AKP-MHP regime is driven domestically by fear of losing power in the next elections. War and nationalism are therefore welcome means of distracting the population from the country’s real problems and forcing opposition parties to uncritically support the government in wartime.
The destruction caused by Turkey´s policy in the Middle East is undeniably enormous. Kurdistan and the Kurdish people in particular are being subjected to a policy of genocide of unimagined proportions. Approximately 650 villages are currently threatened with eviction in South Kurdistan alone. 150 villages in the region have been completely depopulated since 2015. These numbers are hardly surprising given that Turkish warplanes and drones have bombed the region more than 2,000 times since April 14, 2022, and some 700 chemical weapons attacks have been carried out there by the Turkish army. In the major cities of South Kurdistan, too, the Turkish state, with the help of contract killers hired by the MIT intelligence service, is increasingly taking action against Kurds who openly oppose Turkey’s occupation policy. The murder of Zeki Çelebi in Silêmanî (Sulaymaniyah) in May and of another North Kurdish patriot a few days earlier in the city of Dohuk clearly demonstrate this. In North and East Syria, it is the now commonplace to be subjected to drone and artillery attacks designed to drive civilians from their villages and towns.
So, in 2022, the Kurdish people face the real threat of being completely deprived of their livelihoods in North, South and West Kurdistan. Within the framework of the Misak-ı-Milli project, the intolerable conditions in Efrîn – the expulsion of the Kurdish population and the settlement of hundreds of thousands of Arab and Turkmen Islamists and their families – are to be extended to three quarters of Kurdistan. The fact that this would effectively create an “Islamic state” in Kurdistan under Ankara’s protectorate does not bode well for European security either.
Along with Turkey, it is Iran that, as a regional power, decisively shapes developments in the region. The country’s negotiations in Vienna with the leading powers of capitalist modernity now seem to have seriously stalled, despite constantly repeated assurances to the contrary by all parties. Russia is currently not particularly interested in a successful agreement, as this would only free up NATO forces tied up against Iran in the Middle East for provocations against Russia and China. And Israel also remains vehemently opposed to an agreement with Tehran. Iran has made very decisive political and military moves since the beginning of the year, particularly in South Kurdistan and Iraq. With the help of the Iraqi Constitutional Court, which it controls, Iran is attacking the sale of South Kurdish oil and gas to Israel and Europe, which is controlled by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). A recent law passed by the Iraqi parliament criminalizing any relations with Israel is another open attack against the KDP and its friends in Jerusalem. Militarily, repeated missile attacks on Hewlêr (Erbil) and South Kurdish oil companies in recent months have made clear that Iran is no longer willing to tolerate the scale of activity by Israeli and Western intelligence agencies, militaries, governments, and companies on Iran’s doorstep.
While Iran itself is convulsed by severe internal unrest and protests, particularly related to the lack of democracy and the economic consequences of the crisis of capitalist modernity, the regime continues to rely on proxy forces it has trained, equipped, and coordinated abroad in Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. Thus, it hopes to destabilize the Middle East in line with its own interests, making it as difficult as possible for the country’s numerous regional and international enemies to turn their attention to Iran itself. Politically, socially or economically, however, Tehran has virtually nothing to offer that could contribute to a solution of the problems in the Middle East.
The global struggle for freedom
Neither NATO in Ukraine, nor the U.S. in Taiwan, or the EU in Afghanistan are defending core human values such as freedom, equality, and democracy. Looking at societies and peoples in different parts of the world, it is clear that it is the non-state, anti-capitalist movements, organizations and individuals that are increasingly rebelling against the crisis of capitalist modernity. In their methods – civil protests, armed self-defense forces, parliamentary work, social self-organization, legal struggles, union organizing, etc. – they may differ, but in their central goal – a free life – they are one.
Kurdistan is and remains an important source of inspiration for all societies and peoples of the world striving for freedom. Based on its own strength, Kurdistan continues to be the place of military, political, cultural, economic and social resistance against Turkish fascism and genocide. Because of the outstanding importance of the revolution in Kurdistan, the defence of the achievements there constitutes a service to all humanity. So, when millions of people in North Kurdistan in Turkey fight politically against the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan, they are fighting for the right of millions of people around the world to have access to their strategic and political leader. When they fight there for the defense of the Kurdish language and social cohesion against a state policy of drugs, prostitution and rape, they are also defending one of the oldest cultures in the world and protecting the cultural mosaic of humanity against the gray homogenization efforts of capitalist modernity. If millions of people in Rojava are given the opportunity to organize democratically and take the defence of their homeland into their own hands, despite Turkish occupation attacks, Islamist tyranny and a water war, then this shows all societies of this world what enormous power social self-administration releases. If the guerrilla forces of the HPG and YJA-Star in South Kurdistan successfully resist NATO and Turkey for months and years, this proves to all peoples of the world that they themselves can defend themselves effectively and ethically against state attacks. In the near future it will be important for the Kurdish people and the society of Kurdistan, on the one hand, to socialize their self-defence even more and to carry it also to the cities of Turkey and, on the other hand, to be even more creative and determined in building democratic self-administration structures in North and East Syria, Mexmûr, Şengal, Qendil and North Kurdistan.
In Sri Lanka, recent weeks have shown drastically what physical genocide leads to in the long term. Since the military crushing of the Tamil movement in 2009, possible in part due to the long-standing support of the British military and politicians, a family clan has ruled Sri Lanka in a dictatorial manner. Thus, the “Tamil solution” has been the physical destruction of Tamil social leaders, the establishment of a collaborationist regime dependent on the forces of capitalist modernity, and the ruthless exploitation of Sri Lanka’s natural resources. Not a single one of the country´s social problems has been even rudimentarily solved since 2009. Accordingly, widespread protests have now erupted in the country in the wake of the global economic crisis caused by the contradictions at the heart of the centres of capitalism. The Sri Lankan state is now insolvent and economically so marked by corruption and colonial exploitation that it can no longer even guarantee food supplies for its population.
Against the backdrop of its decades-long modern history of resistance, the leaders of Tamil society today thus face the challenge of organizing effective social resistance that goes beyond spontaneous protests and is based on a broad alliance of all democratic segments of society. This may not be easy given the brutality of the Sri Lankan regime and its international supporters, but it has a good chance of success because of the cultural nature of Tamil resistance and the society’s fresh memories of organization and struggle. It will be crucial – based on honest and comprehensive self-criticism – to adapt the paradigm, strategy and tactics of their resistance to today’s conditions in Sri Lanka. The population’s in recent months clearly show that the people are ready for a new start.
In South America, peoples and cultures have been resolutely and patiently resisting the immediate consequences of U.S. imperialism and the way of life of capitalist modernity imposed on them for decades. In Bolivia, Venezuela, Chile, Brazil, and Colombia, it is broad alliances, especially of students, indigenous peoples, and women, who are resisting fascism, ecological destruction, and colonialist exploitation. The strength of this social resistance is reflected, among other things, in the recent election results in Bolivia, Chile and Colombia, while something similar can be expected for the next elections in Brazil.
This is both a success and a danger. For the forces of capitalist modernity, together with the South American state bureaucracies that have collaborated with them for decades, are extremely experienced in the parliamentary incorporation of social resistance. The presidents of Mexico or Chile, who are described as “social democratic” or “left-wing,” clearly show what great compromises are wrested from social resistance movements as soon as they bring their representatives into state office.
Chile in particular has been used as a political laboratory by capitalist modernity since the 1970s. After the NATO coup that brought Pinochet to power in 1973, the neoliberal model was installed in the country in a comprehensive way for practically the first time, and this model was to encompass the entire world from the 1980s on. Thus, the forces of capitalist modernity found a global response to their ideological-cultural crisis that had erupted in the late 1960s. Today, accordingly, the democratic-revolutionary forces of South America will have to defend themselves very vigilantly against being diverted from their close ties with society and their consistent demands for democracy, freedom and equality by elections, constitutional referendums and other offers of state pacification. If they succeed in doing so, the breadth of their alliances, the cultural rootedness of their struggle and their organizational experience of struggle will give them the best chance of freeing themselves from the yoke of capitalist modernity.
Faced with the far-reaching social consequences of the Corona pandemic and the return of a serious war on European soil, the democratic forces of German society today face great challenges. If we add to this the ongoing ecological destruction and the systematic attacks on women, we can easily see how strongly German society today is also affected by the crisis of capitalist modernity. Developments since the start of the Ukraine war make it clear that democratic forces there face the particular challenge of defending their society against ideological attacks in the form of nationalism and militarism. If this fails, important social struggles against ecological destruction, for equal rights of women or against the neoliberal precaritization of work will be increasingly marginalized in the future with nationalist arguments and crisis or war rhetoric.
As an important political and economic centre of Europe, Germany’s democratic forces have – whether they like it or not – the responsibility to counter the shattering of the friendship between nations in the region with a self-confident initiative for a truly democratic, culturally diverse, peaceful, ecological, economically just Europe that lives together with its neighbours on an equal footing. Small-scale protests and resistances such as forest occupations, strikes or anti-fascist self-defence actions will therefore only be able to make an effective long-term contribution to democracy, equality and freedom in Germany and Europe if they become part of a broad social alliance of Germany’s democratic forces. To cling to the temporariness, fragmentation and paradigmatic emptiness of the past decades would only invite state forces of a liberal or fascist hue to instrumentalize the growing social discontent for their power-focused interests and dangerous plans.
Not since the fall of the Berlin Wall, has German society been able to sense as directly as it does today that capitalist modernity is in crisis and that social conditions are thus in upheaval. Accordingly, Germany’s youth, women, cultures and working population are currently searching for forces that will provide them with satisfying answers to their fears, hopes and dreams. Doing justice to this may seem a mammoth task against the backdrop of the current state of the country’s democratic forces. It is all the more important then, that people from their ranks immediately set about fulfilling this responsibility for their society, Europe and humanity.