Ted Grant

The dis-United Nations

Source: Militant, no. 87 (December 31, 1971)
Transcription: Francesco 2010
Proofread: Fred 2010
Markup: Niklas 2010

The flames of the war between India and Pakistan have highlighted the paralysis and impotence of the United Nations as an instrument of peace. The Security Council, composed of the two superpowers America and Russia, and China, the giant power just installed, and Britain and France, plus representatives of the smaller powers, was unable to reach any agreement on what was to be done. Russia used her veto three times. There was a threat of a veto from America and China if resolutions not to their liking were tabled.

Since the Second World War, there have been wars every year, and in everyone, the United Nations has been unable to take action. The only explanation which fits the facts is the class analysis of society provided by Marxism. Foreign policy is only the extension and continuation of home policy. The politics of UNO are the politics of the countries which make up the dis-United Nations. It is an extension of diplomacy in a world forum.

UNO is made up by the great imperialist powers, the smaller and medium capitalist powers, Russia and China, the great Stalinist powers and the smaller deformed workers’ states such as Poland and Yugoslavia. From its makeup, it is clear that it can solve only secondary disputes between the powers, especially when the giant powers are in agreement to impose policies on them. But even when there is a dispute between the smaller powers, which obtain the support of one or other of the great powers, then agreement is impossible.

The hypocrisy of American imperialism, which has been waging war on the Vietnamese people for more than 6 years, in denouncing the “aggression” of India on Pakistan is nauseating. Even more revolting is the spectacle of the Chinese Stalinists, blocked until yesterday from a seat in the United Nations by American imperialism, acting in concert with them, acting to support the vile theocratic military police state of Pakistan.

As repulsive is the full support given by the bureaucratic rulers of the Soviet Union to the capitalist landlord clique which rules India. The war was prepared by the defence pact signed by India and Russia.

These forays into power politics by the ruling bureaucracies of Russia and China demonstrate how far they have abandoned the policy of Lenin, of internationalist and class politics in the diplomacy of the Soviet Union. The main theme of all excursions in international diplomacy by Lenin and Trotsky was to make clear the internationalist and common class interest of the working class of the world and the perfidious and naked capitalist interest in war and peace, of the possessing classes.

Chinese caricature Marxism

The arguments of the rulers of China to justify their stand, are as far from Marxism as the Yangtse River is from the Ganges. They have condemned Indian “interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan”.

10 million refugees forced to flee India is but a trifle when weighed against the “sacred principles of national sovereignty”. The aid given to the Ayub Khan regime and then that of the even more brutally repressive rule of Yahya Khan would indicate that the clique which rules Peking have nothing to learn from the Bourbons, in stupidity and short-sightedness. But then what dictates their policies is the narrow nationalist interests of the millions of bureaucrats who rule China.

While screaming about “Indian aggression”, the American government demonstrated their love of peace by sending the 7th fleet steaming to the Bay of Bengal. The Russians countered by sending their warships in the same direction. These were hardly the acts of pacifists. They were in the continuous tradition of mailed-fist diplomacy. They were the real arguments to back up the verbal ones at the United Nations.

This is in line with the fact that while all the powers are swearing their devotion to peace, they are arming relentlessly with the most devilish weapons of destruction, nuclear, bacteriological and chemical and their so-called “conventional” arming is on such a scale as to render slight the massive arms of Hitler, Mussolini and the Japanese militarists when they were preparing for the Second World War.

The arms bill for the last decade has reached the staggering figure of £1 trillion! They are not piling up these arms as Christmas gifts to the arms manufacturers, but to give weight to their struggle against each other and against the world working class.

The rulers of India and Pakistan, in countries where hunger is the normal lot of the mass of the people, spend 50 percent of their national budget on arms. As small military powers, they have just demonstrated what the arms are for. That is why the illusion, that the paltry amounts in comparison, spent by the FAO, the World Health Organisation and other agencies of the United Nations demonstrate its viability, is childish. It is like comparing the 2 pence piece flung by a rich man to a beggar with the immense sum which he spends on enriching himself, his family and his friends.

The United Nations is organised by countries of capitalism, where the vested interests of rent, interest and profit decide home and foreign policies, including attitudes in the UN forum, and countries like China and Russia, where landlordism and capitalism have been abolished, but where power is in the hands of a clique of usurpers who have taken control out of the hands of the workers and peasants. The policies of the ruling capitalists and the attitude of the ruling bureaucracies are dictated, in the one case by considerations of capitalist profit, in the other by the needs of the ruling bureaucracy. It is power, privilege, income and prestige, which binds, and sometimes blinds, but holds together the diplomacy of the powers, big and small.

Chinese-Russian conflict

China and Russia, with the same social system, which does not have the economic drive and contradictions of capitalism, in the struggle for markets, sources of raw materials and spheres of influence, which led to war in the past, cannot arrive at agreement, because of the interests of their parasitic ruling hierarchies, and oppose each other on the world stage. How much greater then is the contradiction between world capitalism and the Bonapartist or dictatorial workers’ states? How much greater the antagonisms and conflicts of interests between the capitalist powers, big and small themselves?

Britain and France in the Security Council tried to best serve their interests by acting as “neutrals” between India and Pakistan. In reality, this was not the expression of a new-found pacifism in the countries which attacked Egypt in 1956, but only of their weakness and decline of influence and power in Asia.

The deadlock in the Security Council led to the issue being taken to the General Assembly. This, by an overwhelming majority called for a cease-fire. No one took the slightest notice, any more than any action was taken by Britain over Rhodesia, when the Assembly called for her to overthrow the minority government and impose majority rule.

From the United Nations no world peace can be gained. In fact, it acts as a shield for capitalist interests, and to lull the working class and the world’s peoples with the delusion that, through discussion by the nations’ representatives, amicable solutions to national conflicts can be obtained. Marxism explained long ago that it is not who is supposed to have started a war that is important. It is, in any case, difficult to decide nowadays, when both sides accuse the other of starting the fighting, as in the case of India and Pakistan. What is decisive are the causes of the conflict and what class interests are expressed. Of course, both antagonists will pledge fealty to defence of “the nation”, of “democracy”, of “freedom”, not to forget the “defence of peace”. In reality, as in the case of India and Pakistan, it is the interests of the landlords and capitalists on both sides, which is the cause of the war.

In the long run, the crisis of capitalism, which is in its earliest stages at the present time, will result in more wars and armed conflicts. If the class struggle does not result in the overthrow of capitalism in the main capitalist countries, it can result in the victory of reaction and fascism. This would make a third world war inevitable and the destruction of civilisation and even of mankind.

Eliminate perversions of socialism

The history of the last 50 years demonstrates conclusively that there is no easy road to peace. The waging of the class struggle is the only guarantee against war. The workers of all countries have the same interests in common against the capitalist rulers. They have the same interest in the elimination of the perversion of socialism in China and Russia and the introduction of a workers’ socialist democracy.

The world diplomacy of the early years of the Soviet Union was determined by the need to make the issues of class conflict clear to the world working class, and of the Soviet Union as representative of the interests of the whole of the working class of the world.

On the other hand, the dabbling in the field of world politics of the present rulers of Russia and China has merely enhanced the power conflicts in the world. China and Russia have armed capitalist client states like India and Pakistan. The war between the latter two is a war by proxy between the former. China and American imperialism support the same policies on this issue. But in the shifting sands of diplomacy, and power-politics alliances, agreements can change and be reversed. In these quicksands, there cannot be found a policy leading to socialism and peace.

The struggle for peace is the struggle for socialism. A world federation of socialist states is the only guarantee of peace and undreamed of prosperity for the peoples of the world.